May,27 2016, Tokyo
A Korean Air jet terminated takeoff from Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Friday after its port engine caught fire, forcing the evacuation of about 320 people, police said.
The fire was reported around 12:44 p.m. and extinguished shortly afterward. None of the 302 passengers and 17 crew were injured, security officials said, but there are unconfirmed reports that about 30 people became sick.
The fire occurred as the two-day summit of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations was drawing to a close, but the National Police Agency ruled out the possibility of terrorism, saying no suspicious objects were found.
Another government official assigned to the incident said the cause of the fire is not yet known.
About 100 police and 60 fire vehicles rushed to the scene. Emergency chutes were seen deployed from the plane’s doors.
The Boeing 777 was bound for Seoul from Tokyo. The runway it was on has been closed and operations on three other runways were temporarily halted.
Japanese TV broadcast live images showing at least two fire trucks blanketing the engine and nearly the entire left side of the plane with white foam as smoke came out the back of the engine.
The accident reportedly caused the cancellation of about 300 flights and the rerouting of others to Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture.
Korean Air’s most recent accident was in 2000, when a flap from a Boeing 747 freighter broke off and punctured the fuselage, leaving a one-meter hole, according to the Aviation Safety Network website. There were no fatalities, it said.
On Friday at Haneda, a large crowd was gathered on a wide grassy area next to the runway near the choppy waters of Tokyo Bay.
Many security officers had been deployed to Haneda airport due to the G-7 summit.