DALLAS – A Tibet Airlines (TV) Airbus A319 caught fire during an attempted takeoff this morning in China’s southwestern city of Chongqing.
The TV aircraft became engulfed in flames, as passengers ran away on the tarmac after having evacuated the plane. Thankfully, there were only minor injuries among the 113 passengers and nine crew members, according to the airline.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the pilots on flight TV9833, which was scheduled to depart shortly after 8 am local time on Thursday, aborted the takeoff after noticing an anomaly. According to the report, this caused an engine “scrape” and the subsequent fire when the plane strayed off the runway.
The CAAC said emergency protocols were activated and investigators raced to the scene. During the evacuation, 36 persons had bruises and sprains and were taken to nearby hospitals for assessment.
Inside the Cabin
According to a passenger identified as Mr. A by Chinese media, there was a violent shaking and oxygen masks were lowered before the jet made an unusual sound and veered off the runway.
Mr. A stated that crew members observed gasoline oil spilling and began evacuating passengers down slides. He added that fire quickly broke out, forcing some passengers, including himself, to jump from the plane and that he had wounded his back and legs.
The origin of the malfunction and subsequent fire at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG) this morning remains unknown. The airport is a 128-hour transit visa-free airport for foreigners from many countries.
The jet in question is a nine-year-old A319-115 with registration B-6425, according to Flightradar24.com, one of the A320 family’s smallest models. According to Airfleets.net, it is powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran.
Airbus stated that it was aware of media reports regarding the event and was assessing the issue.
Featured image: Tibet Airlines B-8691 Airbus A319-115(WL), sister aircraft of B-6425. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways