Chinese passenger plane skids off runway and catches fire on takeoff


BEIJING — A Chinese passenger plane skidded off the runway on takeoff and caught fire Thursday, causing black smoke to billow and injuring more than 30 people.

The Tibet Airlines flight, with 122 people on board, departed from the southwestern city of Chongqing for a flight to Nyingchi in China’s Tibet region.

Videos shared by state media showed the left side of the plane on fire as people who appeared to be passengers moved away from the scene. Other footage showed fire engines spraying water on the plane. The accident happened at 8:09 am, Tibet Airlines said.

The Airbus A319-115 was carrying 113 passengers and nine flight crew, all of whom were evacuated. During the evacuation, 36 people were injured with sprains or scratches, according to the southwest regional branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

“During the takeoff process, the flight crew discovered an anomaly on the aircraft and halted takeoff in accordance with procedures. The plane left the runway and caught fire after the engine hit the ground. Currently the fire has been extinguished,” the aviation authorities said in a statement.

One passenger, Long Anquan, told China News Service that he heard an unusual noise during takeoff, after which the plane pitched sideways and its wing hit the ground. Long quickly leaned forward and put his hands over his head, but the impact was so severe he was still injured.

Long said he felt lucky to survive. “I’ve used up all my luck in my whole life,” he said in an interview with China News Service.

Chinese flight tracking platform VariFlight said the plane was 9 1/2 years old.

The airport said about two hours after the accident that flights had resumed and an investigation was ongoing. One of the three runways remained closed, the CAAC said.

The incident follows the crash of a China Eastern Boeing 737-800 in southeast China on March 21, killing all 132 people on board. This accident, in which the plane suddenly dived and hit the ground in a mountainous area, is still under investigation. Chinese passenger plane skids off runway and catches fire on takeoff


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