Dubai plane fire: Video shows chaos of Emirates emergency evacuation as passengers try to grab suitcases

Cabin crew shout 'Leave everything, leave the bags!' as plane's engine goes up in flames

Lizzie Dearden
Thursday 04 August 2016 08:56
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Video shows utter chaos as passengers are evacuated from crashed Emirates jet

Footage from an Emirates plane that crash-landed in Dubai before bursting into flames has captured the chaos and panic during the emergency evacuation.

The video showed several passengers attempting to take suitcases from overhead lockers and collect their personal belongings as the Boeing 777’s right engine burned.

Children’s cries and screams can be heard as smoke started seeping into the cabin and families jostled towards the emergency exits.

As people continued attempts to collect their suitcases a crew member shouted: “Leave everything, leave the bags, jump on the slide. Leave the bags, we’ll take them.”

Footage showed a fireball bursting from the plane after it crash landed at Dubai International Airport

The person holding the camera could be seen jumping on to one of the plane’s emergency slides as a female air steward shouted “jump, jump, jump!”.

The final seconds of the video show passengers landing on each other and then running on to the tarmac as flames started to engulf the plane’s engine underneath the right wing.

A huge fireball later ripped through the aircraft, throwing part of its bodywork into the air and crashing down on to the tarmac.

All 300 passengers and crew members were safely evacuated but a firefighter died while tackling the blaze.

Emirates Group CEO and Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said 10 people were hospitalised after the accident, which may have been caused by a mechanical failure affecting the plane’s landing gear.

Airline officials were not able to say what caused the accident, though the chief executive ruled out “anything in terms of security issues at this stage”.

The accident happened around 12.45pm local time (9.45am BST) as Flight EK521 was arriving from the southern Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram.

Passengers described hearing a loud noise as the plane touched down after what had seemed to be an ordinary flight.

“It was a big noise,” said Shadi Kochuktty, a passenger from India. “We hadn't heard any announcement, but it was a big noise.”

Describing panic in the ensuing evacuation, passenger Arun Krishna said: “All the people were shouting, all the children, all the women.”

The Boeing 777was carrying 282 passengers and 18 crew members from 20 different countries, according to the airline.

Those on board included 226 Indians, 24 Britons, 11 Emiratis, and six each from the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The pilots were Emirati and Australian and each had over 7,000 hours' flight experience, Sheikh Ahmed said.

Emirates received the plane new in 2003 and it was up-to-date with safety inspections, the CEO added. He described wind conditions as normal at the time of the crash, but said investigators are examining whether wind shear could have played a role.

According to air traffic control recordings obtained by the Aviation Herald, controllers at Dubai had reminded the crew of the Boeing 777 to lower the landing gear as it approached.

Shortly afterwards, the crew reportedly announced they were aborting the landing to “go around” - a routine procedure for which pilots are well trained - but the aircraft came to rest near the end of the runway instead.

Iype Vallikadan, a reporter from India's Mathrubhumi News, was told by passengers that the pilot spoke to them as the plane neared Dubai to say there was a problem with the landing gear and that he would make an emergency landing.

The accident closed Dubai International Airport to traffic for about six hours, with flights resuming before 7pm local time.

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