About 300 evacuated after Korean Air plane catches fire

TOKYO • About 300 passengers and crew members were evacuated from a Korean Air Boeing 777 at Tokyo's Haneda Airport in dramatic scenes after one of the engines caught fire, officials said yesterday.

TV footage from the airport showed the plane, which was bound for South Korea's Gimpo International, surrounded by red fire trucks and with the area around its left wing doused in foam. The plane's inflatable emergency evacuation slides had all been deployed.

"The flight had a fire in Engine No. 1," said a Korean Air spokesman. "The plane bound to Gimpo Airport from Haneda had 302 passengers and 17 crew members on board. (The) fire was put out."

Smoke was seen coming from the plane as it was about to take off at around 11.40am, officials from the Japanese Transportation Ministry and the airport said. Passengers and crew were evacuated and there were no reported serious injuries, a fire department official said.

"So far we know that 19 people were (lightly) injured, some of whom said they felt ill," he said.

The fire caused a temporary shutdown of Haneda Airport, affecting more than 50,000 passengers and cancelling 200 flights.
The fire caused a temporary shutdown of Haneda Airport, affecting more than 50,000 passengers and cancelling 200 flights. PHOTO: REUTERS

Dozens of fire engines were deployed to the scene and had almost put out the fire, he said.

Local media said police have so far discovered no information linked to criminality and reported that the airport, which had been closed temporarily, would resume operations on three out of four runways.

The accident affected the travel plans of some 50,000 passengers, causing the cancellation of at least 200 flights, NHK reported.

Haneda Airport handled around 550 flights a day last year, with around 75 million passengers passing through, making it one of the world's busiest airports.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2016, with the headline 'About 300 evacuated after Korean Air plane catches fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe