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Kochi-bound Air India Express catches fire at Muscat airport

Some passengers suffered injuries during evacuation through slides. There were 141 passengers and six crew on board.

MUSCAT, Sept 14: A Kochi-bound Air India Express plane carrying 141 passengers and six crew caught fire while taking off at Muscat airport on Wednesday. The flight (IX-442, VT-AXZ) was evacuated after smoke was seen billowing out of the aircraft. Some passengers suffered injuries during evacuation.

All the passengers were evacuated. The smoke was detected in its engine No 2. The Boeing 737 was on the runway and taxiing. The mishap occurred at 11:20 am (local time) (12:50 pm IST). Slides were deployed for the evacuation of passengers on the taxiway.

“Air India Express’ Muscat to Kochi flight IX 442, with 141 passengers on board, was preparing to depart from Muscat at 1120 hours (local time) today. 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,” Air India Express said In a statement.

It added, “As a matter of abundant precaution, and following the prescribed SOPs, the crew stopped on the taxiway and activated the onboard engine fire extinguishers. Thereafter, the passengers were evacuated from the aircraft... The matter is being investigated by the regulatory authorities and also the airline’s flight safety department.”

The airline said it has made alternative arrangement to fly the passengers to Kochi.

"All passengers were safely evacuated after smoke was detected in engine number two of an Air India Express flight [to Kochi] on the runway at Muscat airport. Relief flight to be arranged," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in a statement.

In the past few months, there have been mishaps happening frequently involving several Indian airlines, mostly Spicejet.

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