400 flights cancelled as Korean Air jet aborts takeoff in Japan

Tokyo, May 27 (IANS) A Korean Air passenger plane terminated takeoff from Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Friday after its left engine caught fire, affecting the travel of some 70,000 people with over 400 flights cancelled as a result of the accident.

The Boeing 777-300, bound for Seoul, South Korea, caught fire soon as it was taking off around 12.40 p.m. (local time), Xinhua news agency reported.

The 302 passengers and 17 crew members aboard the plane were evacuated. At least seven people sustained scratches while evacuating, and 30 people felt unwell through inhalation of smoke.

Several passengers reported hearing a pop sound and saw flames around the engine before the aircraft abruptly stopped on the runway.

The police said there were no immediate signs of terrorism being involved in the incident, while Korean Air said: “Efforts will be made as soon as possible to determine what caused the defect in the engine.”

The aircraft has been used by Korean Air since 1999, with no record of problems before, said the airline.

The runway the plane was due to take off from was immediately closed until the stricken airplane was removed about six hours later. Three other runways were temporarily closed too but resumed operation around 2.30 p.m.

The runway disruption caused 400 flights to be cancelled, affecting some 70,000 travellers.



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