A Qatar Airways passenger jet with over 300 people on board was forced to make an emergency landing at Istanbul’s main airport today (Thursday) after an engine caught fire, the airline said, blaming a ‘bird strike’ for the blaze.
The Airbus A330 had been headed for Doha, Qatar but had to turn back to Ataturk International airport less than 30 minutes into its journey.
Shocking videos have captured flames shooting out of the passenger jet’s engine as it returns to the Istanbul hub.
The plane was carrying 298 passengers and 14 crew and all were evacuated safely, according to the airline.
However, local Turkish news agencies reported one woman on board was hospitalised after suffering a fainting spell.
The airline blamed the fire on Flight QR240 on what it described as a ‘bird strike’ .
A spokesperson for Qatar Airways told MailOnline: ‘Qatar Airways can confirm that QR240 from Istanbul to Doha experienced a bird strike, which resulted in its safe return to Istanbul.
‘All 298 passengers and 14 crew disembarked normally and the airline is sending a replacement aircraft to Istanbul.
‘Customer needs, including onward travel, will be taken care of by the airline. The safety of our passengers is our most important responsibility. The pilot followed all safety procedures.’
Turkish media said the airline would send a replacement aircraft to Istanbul to ferry waiting passengers onward to its hub in the new Hamad International Airport in Doha.
Typically, such strikes can see birds sucked into a passenger plane’s jet engine, sparking a fire and shorting it out.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported that the emergency landing was ordered after flames came out of the plane’s left-side engine.
Mehmet Kirazoglu, who first reported the plane landing on Twitter said: ‘I was in Turkish Airlines Technology building nearby the IST airport we heard a strange engine sound over us.
‘When [we looked] up we saw a Qatar Airways plane whose left engine was flaming out.
‘It turned round towards sea, I suppose it drained its fuel [in the] Marmara Sea. Thank god, we have learnt that it landed safely.’
At noon after the aircraft had landed at Ataturk International airport, airport staff inspected the plane’s engines.
According to Turkish news site, AirportHaber there was ‘damage to the blades’.
The site has shared pictures of airport workers in high-vis jackets peering into the Airbus A330’s left engine.
Courtesy : Dailymail