Saudi aircraft catches fire at Zia airport, passengers safe

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Dhaka, Mar 25 (UNI) A Saudi 747 Boeing passenger plane caught fire immediately after landing at Zia international airport today from Jeddah.

All 307 passengers were safely evacuated, airport officials said.

But scores had cuts and bruises while jostling out through the emergency doors.

The plane carrying passengers from Medina and Jeddah landed at Zia international airport at 1445hrs (local time). Immediately after landing, third engine of the aircraft caught fire on the runway.

Fire brigade personnel rushed to the scene and doused the flame immediately.

Most of the passengers were expatriate Bangladeshi labourers working in Saudi Arabia. They were returning home.

Wahiduzzaman, a passenger, said as the plane landed they saw curly smoke emitting from an engine. They started screaming to stop the plane and open the doors.

But the doors were not opened immediately. After hue and cry, the emergency doors were opened allowing them to get down.

Another passenger Shahabuddin said scores of passengers, particularly children and women, were injured during the jostling to get out of plane. Many passengers lost their passports, cell phones and money, he said.

An airport official said the engine was badly damaged but could not determine the exact reason of fire until investigation. He said as the third engine caught fire, the pilot shut down all the engines and opened the emergency doors averting a possible major accident.

UNI XC RJ HS1802

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