Fire in engine: 151 passengers, crew evacuated from Kochi-bound AI Express in Muscat

Passengers running from the Air India Express flight after being evacuated. Smoke was seen billowing from the aircraft's wings, on Wednesday. Photo: Twitter/@utkarshs88

Muscat: Around 151 people were evacuated from a Kochi-bound Air India Express plane at Muscat airport on Wednesday after fire and smoke started billowing from one of the engines.

India's aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is probing the incident.

According to sources, 16 passengers experienced difficulties after inhaling the smoke and some suffered minor bruises at the time of evacuation. However, no casualties were reported.

The incident happened while the Kochi-bound Boeing 737-800 aircraft was taxiing and after the warning, the passengers were evacuated as a precautionary measure, the source said.

Moments before take-off, the engine is suspected to have caught fire. Video footage of passengers rushing out the emergency door of the plane, with some even carrying toddlers and running, has been doing the rounds on social media.

There were a total of 141 passengers, 4 infants and 6 crew members onboard the aircraft.

In a statement, an Air India Express spokesperson said there were 141 passengers onboard the plane, which was to depart Muscat at 1120 hours (local time). "While it was on the taxiway, another aircraft reported observing fumes from one of the engines. However, there was no fire warning indication in the cockpit. As a matter of abundant precaution, and following the prescribed SOPs, the crew stopped on the taxiway and activated the onboard engine fire extinguishers," the statement said.

Air India Express also said the matter is being investigated by the regulatory authorities as well as the airline's flight safety department.

Air India Express has arranged a relief flight to bring back the guests from Muscat.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Oman said there was fire in one of the engines of the aircraft.

"Before the aircraft take off, the aircraft was hit by a failure and a fire in one of its engines, which required an immediate evacuation of passengers," the authority said in a tweet.

As per the latest update provided by a Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) official, the rescheduled IX442 flight from Muscat will arrive at Kochi at 0230 hours (IST) on September 15 and later leave for Doha as flight IX475 at 0315 hours (IST).

(With PTI inputs)

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