A China Airlines Boeing 737-800 jet exploded into flames at Okinawa airport in Japan after arrving from Taiwan, but all 165 people (157 passengers and 8 crew members) could escape without being injured.
“After the plane landed, there were flames, and I heard explosions a few times then saw black smoke,” airport worker Hideaki Oyadomari told national broadcaster NHK. “We felt the hot air coming our way.”
Passenegers noticed flames around the engine on the left side after landing, while the plane taxied to the gate.
The cause of the fire, which reportedly began in one of the engines, was unknown. Japan’s National Police Agency said terrorism was not suspected. “The plane landed safely so we are still checking why there was a fire,” said Sun Hung-wen, spokesman of China Airlines.
Passengers could leave the aircraft using emergency slides before the leaking engine exploded and flames covered the whole aircraft. The pilot reportedly escaped from the cockpit using a rope. (This is the ususal emergency exit procdure for cocpkit crew – we will write a special post about it later)
China Airlines has had a poor safety record in the last two decades, with three major crashes.
In 1994, a crash at Nagoya airport in Japan claimed 263 lives, while 203 died when an Airbus carrying holiday-makers back from Bali crashed at Taipei airport in 1998. Most recently, all 225 passengers of a Boeing 747 bound for Hong Kong died after it fell into the sea after take-off from Taipei.
I think this is the most lucky accident I have ever seen.
Resource: Reuters, Tlegraph.co.uk