Tibet Airlines plane catches fire on takeoff in southwest China

The 113 passengers and nine crew members were “safely evacuated”, the airline said in a statement. More than 40 slightly injured passengers were taken to hospital, according to a statement from Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said 36 people suffered bruises and sprains during the evacuation.

“According to the flight crew, the aircraft experienced an anomaly during takeoff. They aborted the takeoff following procedures,” the CAAC said. “After the plane skidded off the runway, the engine scraped the ground and caught fire. (The fire) was extinguished.”

The flight was bound for Nyingchi in Tibet. Footage posted on Chinese social media shows flames engulfing the front of the plane and a plume of black smoke rising into the sky. Another video shows passengers fleeing the plane.

The cause of the crash is being investigated and flight operations at the airport have returned to normal, the airport said.

The flight schedule shows the aircraft to be an Airbus A319 which had been in service with the airline for nine and a half years.

The incident came less than two months after a China Eastern Airlines jetliner carrying 132 people crashed into mountains in southern China’s Guangxi region, killing everyone on board. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash.

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