Chinese plane aborts takeoff and catches fire, causing minor injuries during evacuation

Rescue workers are seen at the site where a Tibet Airlines Airbus A319 plane caught fire after an aborted takeoff, at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in Chongqing, China May 12, 2022. cnsphoto via REUTERS

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BEIJING, May 12 (Reuters) – China’s Tibet Airlines said all passengers and crew had been evacuated from an Airbus (AIR.PA) An A319 which caught fire on Thursday after an aborted takeoff in the city of Chongqing, in the south-west of the country.

There were no fatalities and only minor injuries among the 113 passengers and nine crew on board, the airline said in a statement.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said 36 people suffered bruises and sprains during the evacuation of flight TV9833 and were sent to local hospitals for examination.

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The pilots had aborted takeoff as per procedures after experiencing an anomaly, the CAAC said in a statement, resulting in engine scrubbing and a fire after the plane veered off the runway.

Contingency plans were activated and investigators rushed to the scene, the aviation regulator added.

The incident came less than two months after the fatal crash of a China Eastern Airlines (600115.SS) The aircraft led the CAAC to launch sector-wide inspections to detect possible safety deficiencies. Read more

An unverified video on social media showed a plane from Tibet Airlines, a subsidiary of Air China (601111.SS)with heavy smoke and flames pouring from the left side of the aircraft as passengers and crew flew away.

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport said the plane caught fire at 8:09 a.m. local time (0009 GMT).

Evacuation slides, which can often cause minor injuries, have been deployed, according to unverified photos on social media.

The aircraft involved is a nine-year-old A319, one of the smaller versions of the A320 family. It is powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric (GE.N) and Saffron (SAF.PA)according to Airfleets.net.

Airbus said it was aware of media reports of the incident and was doing everything possible to assess the situation.

Tibet Airlines is a regional airline based in Lhasa. It has a fleet of 39 planes, including 28 A319s, according to Airfleets.net.

On March 21, a China Eastern Airlines (600115.SS) A Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board has crashed in the mountains of southern China, killing everyone on board. So far, there are few clues about the cause of the accident. Read more

The tragedy shocked a country that had one of the best aviation safety records in the world and whose aviation industry was for the last decade, before COVID, one of the world’s fastest growing markets in terms of passenger traffic.

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Reporting by Stella Qiu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Jacqueline Wong

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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