DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — All 300 people aboard an Emirates airliner survived a crash landing in Dubai on Wednesday, scrambling down emergency slides before flames consumed the plane in an accident that halted flights for hours at the world’s third-busiest airport. One firefighter was killed battling the blaze.

The incident was the most serious ever for Emirates, which has grown at a breakneck pace over the last three decades and turned its hometown of Dubai into a major long-haul international air hub. It was the second major air disaster for a Dubai government-backed airline in less than five months.

Emirates Group CEO and Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said 10 people were hospitalized, but stressed that all passengers were safely evacuated before the plane was engulfed in a fireball.

The accident happened around 12:45 p.m. local time as Flight EK521 was arriving from southern India.

Airline officials were not able to say what caused the accident, though the chief executive ruled out “anything in terms of security issues at this stage.”

The Boeing 777-300 was carrying 282 passengers and 18 crew members from 20 countries, according to the airline.


A problem with landing gear appeared to have at least been a contributing factor. Video shot by a passenger on another flight showed the plane tilted to its right side and careening on its belly as thick smoke poured out. The right wing looked to have been torn from the fuselage during the crash.

Passengers described hearing a loud noise as the plane touched down after what until that point had seemed to be an ordinary flight.

“It was a big noise,” said Shadi Kochuktty, a passenger from India. “We hadn’t heard any announcement, but it was a big noise.”

From that terrifying moment on, all those on board the Boeing 777 faced the nightmare all white-knuckle fliers fear: Smoke filling the cabin. People screaming. And the rush to escape.

Flight attendants jumped out of their seats as the plane screeched to a stop, opening emergency doors on the craft and inflating the emergency slides.

Asked what the flight attendants said, Kochuktty offered just one word: “Escape!”

By the time firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze, the roof of the plane had been consumed

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