China passenger jet catches fire, dozens 'lightly injured'

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  • A passenger plane caught fire in China.
  • It veered off the runway during takeoff.
  • All 113 passengers and nine crew were safely evacuated.

A Chinese passenger jet has caught fire after veering off the runway in China’s Chongqing, leaving dozens of people with what were said to be minor injuries.

READ | Aviation watchdog warns of increase in 'incidents', plane crashes in SA

The incident happened on Thursday as the Tibet Airlines plane was preparing to take off at 08:09 local time (00:09 GMT).

The Airbus A319-115 jet, carrying 113 passengers and nine crew, was headed from the southwestern city of Chongqing to Tibet’s Nyingchi.

Everyone on board was safely evacuated, the airline said in a statement.

The statement said:

In the process of taking off, the flight crew discovered an abnormality with the aircraft and stopped the takeoff, after which the aircraft left the runway.

"The injured passengers were all only lightly injured, and have been sent to hospital for treatment," it added.

In a separate statement, the Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport said about 40 passengers with minor injuries were sent to hospital.

It said Flight TV9833 deviated from the runway during takeoff and that "the left side of the aircraft's nose caught fire".

Operations at the airport have since returned to normal and "the cause of the accident is being investigated," it added.

Firefighters check a plane which caught fire after
Firefighters check a plane which caught fire after veering off the runway with all passengers and crew evacuated safely, in China's southwestern Chongqing.

The incident follows the crash of a Chinese Eastern Boeing 737-800 in south-eastern China on 21 March, in which all 132 people on board were killed.

That accident, in which the plane went into a sudden nosedive and slammed into the ground in a mountainous area, remains under investigation.

Two flight recorders, or "black boxes", were recovered from that crash and are being analysed in the US.


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