Dubai international airport, one of the world’s busiest, was forced to suspend operations on Wednesday after an Emirates Airline passenger jet crash-landed and burst into flames on one of its runways. Authorities said all passengers were evacuated safely.
Dubai-based Emirates said the accident happened around 12:45 p.m. local time as Flight EK521 was arriving from the southern Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram.
There were people from 20 countries among the passengers and crew, including 226 Indian citizens. There were also 24 people from the UK and 11 citizens of the United Arab Emirates.
"All passengers and crew are accounted for and safe,” the airline said.
Following the accident, Emirates airlines said that it is expecting a 4-hour network wide delay.
Footage posted online showed the aircraft sliding along a runway at about 12:45pm local time (9:45am GMT) on one wing with its engine apparently detached, before a section of the right wing apparently exploded. Fuel tanks are located in both wings and the fuselage of modern jets.
Passengers evacuated from an Emirates flight say that minutes before the flight crash-landed at Dubai airport, the pilot made an announcement that he needed to make an emergency landing.
Passengers said the cabin crew opened all the emergency exits of the plane and that all passengers and crew on board the aircraft were evacuated within minutes of the landing.
Dubai International Airport is the hub of Emirates’ worldwide operations. The airline’s rapid growth has turned the facility into the world’s busiest international airport by passenger numbers. The airport is a particularly important hub for travelers going to and from south Asia.
It was not immediately clear what had caused the crash but it appeared that the landing gear on the aircraft failed during landing.