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Dubai plane crash: Emirates expects network-wide delay after flight EK521 bursts into flames on crash-landing

By Louise Burke, The Telegraph

An Emirates passenger plane burst into flames as it crash landed at Dubai airport on Wednesday but all 300 passengers and crew members survived the impact.

There were 24 Britons aboard Emirates Flight EK521 when it came crashing down in the final moments of a return flight from Thiruvananthapuram in southern India.

Shortly before the Boeing 777 was due to land, the pilot informed passengers that there was a problem with the landing gear and that he would be forced into an emergency landing, according to Indian media.

It is not clear if the landing gear failed to deploy or if it buckled upon landing.

All aboard were evacuated within minutes of the crash landing and only one person – a crew member – was taken to hospital for treatment, according to TP Seetharam, the Indian ambassador to the UAE.

“We can confirm that there are no fatalities among our passengers and crew. All passengers and crew are accounted for and safe,” Emirates said in a statement.

The crash led to an immediately halt of both departures and arrivals, bringing travel chaos to the Middle East’s busiest airport. Dozens of departing flights were delayed or cancelled while some incoming traffic was redirected to other airports in the region.

Emirates, which is based out of Dubai, said it expected an eight-hour delay across its entire network.

226 of the 300 people aboard were Indian, according to Emirates, along with 24 Britons, and 11 people from the UAE.

There were six Americans and six Saudis along with small groups from Turkey, Ireland, Australia and other countries.

The crashed aircraft was a Boeing 777 that has been in service since 2003, according to Flight Radar 24.

The investigation into the crash will be lead by the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority. Boeing, the maker of the aircraft, said it would support the investigation.

On Tuesday it flew from Dubai to Tunisia, Tunisia to Malta, Malta back to Dubai.

On Wednesday morning it made an early flight from Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram on India’s southern tip. It was returning back to Dubai from India when it crashed.

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