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Emergency at Aussie airport. Plane on fire in the sky

April 30, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A chilling image was circulating on email and social media last night – a passenger jet over Australia with an engine on fire. The image, rapidly circulated on Twitter, showed a British Aerospace 146, a four-engined jet aircraft which had taken off from  Perth when the pilot radioed that he needed to return and make an emergency landing.

The plane was carrying 93 passengers – fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers heading for Barrow Island, 50 kilometres northwest off the Pilbara coast of Western Australia. The island produces oil and gas for export.

The plane with engine on fire in the sky, photo circulating on Twitter

Shortly after takeoff, the plane experienced a severe problem with one of its engines. Another gripping image, submitted to the ABC by someone aboard the plane, shows the damage graphically in close-up.

The ABC reported yesterday that the plane, operated by Cobham Aviation Services, managed to turn around and land safely. By yesterday afternoon it had been moved inside a hangar for inspection.

“When the fire was detected, the engine was shut down and the fire extinguished,” a statement from Cobham stated.

There were no injuries among the 92 passengers, two pilots and three cabin crew.

Photo by passenger shows damage to BA146's engine

The ABC quoted passenger Jason Grimmett, who said the incident happened about 10 minutes after take-off, when “fuel started spewing out, caught alight”. Grimmett reported “a bit of panic on board” but said the pilots reacted quickly, cut fuel to the engine and extinguished the fire.

Although most passengers remained calm as the four-engine plane returned to the terminal, “a couple of guys were panicking quite bad”, Grimmett said.

A witness on the ground came out with a classic remark: “It’s not every day you see a plane with its engine on fire flying over you.”

The BA146 aircraft is one of the smallest aircraft to have four jet engines, which means three are left if one goes. The aircraft is ideal for taking off on relatively short runways.

Written by Peter Needham

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