Saturday 3 December 2016

Hot weather theory after fire on airliner at Dubai airport

Published 03/08/2016 | 14:26

A damaged Boeing 777 is seen at Dubai airport after it crash-landed (AP)
A damaged Boeing 777 is seen at Dubai airport after it crash-landed (AP)

Hot weather could have played a part in the crash of an Emirates airliner which sent black smoke billowing into the air after it landed at Dubai's main airport, an aviation expert has said.

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Flight EK521, which was carrying 282 passengers, including 24 Britons, and 18 crew members, was arriving from the southern Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram when the accident happened at around 12.45pm local time.

All passengers and crew were accounted for and safe, the airline said. It was later confirmed a Dubai firefighter died whilst tackling the blaze.

Early indications suggested the plane, a Boeing 777, was not at fault and other factors would have been involved, according to expert David Learmount.

"The images tell us nothing except the aircraft eventually caught fire, but it certainly doesn't tell us why it did," he said.

"It was an incredibly hot day, it was very nearly 50 degrees.

"If you get a damaged wing and fuel comes out of it, it vaporises in temperatures like that and vapour is highly inflammable."

He said temperature was "very likely" to have been a factor and the crash should not prompt concerns about the safety of the plane.

"There have been accidents where 777s have been very badly damaged during a landing and yet we haven't had a fire like that," he said.

Mr Learmount said the crew acted in line with protocol by evacuating all passengers.

"If there is a fire or a risk of a fire, then the drill for every crew for every aeroplane flight in the world is to get the passengers off very fast, because if you don't it's a disaster," he said.

"Did they do well? No, they did what they were paid for."

The Boeing 777 departed Thiruvananthapuram at 10.19am and was scheduled to land at 12.50pm local time, according to Emirates.

Video posted online showed black smoke billowing from what appeared to be an Emirates jetliner, lying on its belly on the runway.

Press Association

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