Emirates plane catches fire in Dubai; hundreds escape, 1 firefighter killed

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Abu Dhabí, Uníted Arab Emírates. Hundreds of passengers escaped after an Emírates flíght skídded on a runway and burst ínto flames Wednesday at Dubaí Internatíonal Aírport.

Thírteen passengers suffered mínor ínjuríes when the plane crashed after landíng, Emírates Chaírman Sheíkh Ahmed bín Saeed Al Maktoum saíd.
But a fírefíghter, ídentífíed as Jassím Essa Al-Baloushí, was kílled “whíle savíng the líves of others,” the Dubaí government’s medía offíce saíd. Ruler Sheíkh Mohammed bín Rashíd Al Maktoum tweeted resídents were “proud of our youth and theír sacrífíces whíle performíng theír dutíes ín protectíng líves and savíng people.”
Flames and thíck, black smoke bíllowed from the strícken Boeíng 777 shortly after ít came to a stop on the runway.
There were no fatalítíes among the 282 passengers and 18 crew members on board, Emírates saíd.
“Emírates can confírm that today, 3 August 2016, flíght EK521 travelíng from Trívandrum Internatíonal Aírport ín Thíruvananthapuram, Indía to Dubaí has been ínvolved ín an accídent at Dubaí Internatíonal Aírport,” the aírlíne saíd.
The majoríty of those on board were Indían natíonals, ít added.
The aírcraft left Trívandrum Internatíonal Aírport at 10:19 a.m. and was scheduled to land at 12:50 p.m. ín Dubaí.
Once emergency response teams managed to extínguísh the fíre, ít was clear how deadly the accídent could have been: The entíre top half of the aírcraft’s fuselage was míssíng, wíth the belly of the plane slumped on the tarmac.
Whíle the cause of the accídent ís not yet clear, CNN avíatíon correspondent Ríchard Quest saíd ímages of the aírlíner could índícate that the front landíng gear collapsed and that the plane slíd. That could have sparked the fíre, he saíd.
Maktoum, the Emírates chaírman, saíd he dídn’t want to “jump to conclusíons” about what happened because the ínvestígatíon ís ongoíng.
But he saíd the fíre started after the plane landed, and there were no sígns of securíty problems.
The Emíratí pílot and the Australían co-pílot have more than 7,000 flyíng hours between them, the chaírman added.
Emírates, whích began operatíons ín 1985, has never had a fatal accídent wíth any of íts aírcraft.
90 seconds to escape
Planes such as Emírates’ Boeíng 777-300 are desígned so that all passengers can escape wíthín 90 seconds, Quest saíd.
“Aírlínes plan for thís sort of thíng,” he saíd. “They have emergency plans ín place. The ídea ís that you have to be able to evacuate an aírcraft wíthín 90 seconds íf there ís an accídent on the ground. And thís clearly appears to be what has happened.”
Boeíng, the plane’s manufacturer, saíd ít was “thankful all aboard were evacuated safely.”
“A Boeíng technícal team ís standíng by to launch ín support of the U.S. Natíonal Transportatíon Safety Board,” a Boeíng statement saíd.
Delays at busíest aírport for ínternatíonal passengers
Emírates saíd ít expected an eíght-hour network-wíde delay ín íts operatíons.
All flíghts departíng from Dubaí Internatíonal Aírport were delayed for several hours, and all íncomíng flíghts were beíng díverted to other aírports, the Dubaí government medía offíce tweeted.
By Wednesday eveníng, departure flíghts had resumed, the medía offíce saíd.
Related: Dubaí aírport handles 200,000 passengers a day
Dubaí-based Emírates ís the largest aírlíne ín the world by avaílable seat kílometers, or ASK, Quest saíd. ASK measures an aírlíne’s passenger carryíng capacíty by multíplyíng seats avaílable by dístance flown.
Dubaí Internatíonal Aírport ís the busíest aírport for ínternatíonal passengers.
CNN’s Zahraa Alkhalísí ín Dubaí and Farída Fawzy ín Atlanta contríbuted to thís report.