Fire forces evacuation of passenger plane at Karachi airport

Published: October 4, 2014
A screengrab of the Emirates aircraft that was evacuated after the pilot detected fire aboard the plane.

A screengrab of the Emirates aircraft that was evacuated after the pilot detected fire aboard the plane.

KARACHI: An Emirates passenger airline with 82 people on board bound for Dubai was pulled off the runway minutes before it was supposed to take off after the pilot detected smoke in the cockpit, officials said.

At around 7:45 pm, just as flight EK 609 was due to depart, the pilot called for emergency assistance soon after he had started backing off the Airbus 320, officials said. It had earlier been reported that the plane had taken off and had to turn around for an emergency landing, however, officials denied this was the case and that the plane had not taken off.

“We are not sure about the nature of this emergency.  Right now I can tell you that fire tenders were despatched on the distress call,” said Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesperson Pervez George.

“All the passengers and crew members were evacuated and the plane has been parked on one side. No one was hurt.”

The plane deployed chutes to evacuate passengers.

Other flights coming in and out of Jinnah International Airport Karachi were not affected.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Raj - USA
    Oct 4, 2014 - 9:00PM

    I will tell you from my personal experience with Emirates. It is also true for all other airlines also. No doubt Emirates is a good airlines and I have travelled on Emirates flights many times. However, once I took an Emirates flight from Dubai to Koklata and was shocked to see the very poor condition. Later I realized that the final destination of the flight was Dhaka. Every airline offers its best services and uses its best aircrafts when they fly to destinations in affluent countries and use their worst when they fly to poor countries.


  • Honky Tonk Man
    Oct 4, 2014 - 9:21PM

    At around 7:45 pm, just as flight EK 609 was due to depart, the pilot called for emergency assistance soon after he had started backing off the Airbus 320″

    Minor detail but Emirates doesn’t fly A320s, it was probably an A330 or a Boeing 777. Anyway, glad everyone was safely evacuated…. and now waiting for the TTP to claim responsibility…


  • sam
    Oct 4, 2014 - 9:27PM

    Emirates does not use A320, ET need to get the basic facts right


  • Salman
    Oct 4, 2014 - 9:44PM

    Emirates does not have A320s in its fleet. The aircraft was an A330.


  • Oct 5, 2014 - 12:03AM

    Thats an A330-200 aircraft – you can see that by the size of the engines and how many windows it has and also the size of the tube – slightly smaller than a Boeing 777.


  • Thank hog
    Oct 5, 2014 - 2:48AM

    Praise Allah


  • Ahmed
    Oct 5, 2014 - 3:08AM

    I was on that flight and have just returned to Dubai as we were put on EK 603 the next flight. The aircraft was an Airbus 330-200. The cabin was full of some weird burning smell and looked like there was smoke in the galley. We were taxing when the crew realized and informed the captain who return the flight to the stand safely and evacuated us through emergency shoots…


  • Amir H Sheikholeslam.
    Oct 5, 2014 - 6:31AM

    I had experience in A330 Smoke in the cabin should be easily identifiable and thus easier to fight. The source is identified either by a local warning, e.g. lavatory fire, or by direct observation by the cabin crew. In every case, the aim is to isolate the source of the smoke and extinguish any fire. When fighting a fire in the cabin, wear a PBE to avoid smoke inhalation.
    It is not so easy to identify the source of smoke from either the air conditioning or avionics. If the source of the smoke is immediately obvious, isolate the faulty equipment without delay.
    Air conditioning smoke can be transported to other cabin areas and some difficulty may be encountered in identifying the origin of the smoke. Avionics smoke requires the crew to isolate the faulty equipment, which can also be quite difficult to ascertain. There may not be any ECAM warning. If this is the case, apply the QRH procedure.


  • uH
    Oct 5, 2014 - 1:38PM

    @Raj – USA:
    I would just like to add that given the utter lack of civic sense that the majority of passengers traveling to Gulf countries from third world countries like pakistan and BD exhibit, I won’t exactly blame the airlines for treating these destinations amongst their lowest priorities. I often feel sorry for the crew who has to deal with illiterates who don’t know how to use a latrine for instance or who have no qualms lighting a cigarette or using their cell phones while in the air…


  • Graeme
    Oct 5, 2014 - 4:33PM

    The safe evacuation has got nothing to do with Allah – thank a trained crew instead.


  • Pomme
    Oct 6, 2014 - 2:27PM

    @Raj – USA: There is no such route Dubai – Kolkata – Dhaka on the Emirates network. Also you might also find helpful. A well educated guess to your ignorant comment about operating flights to third world countries with “their worst”: aircraft configurations operating flights depend on load demands and airport capacity. Example: Emirates operates at least 38 weekly flights to Karachi, which means at least 5 daily flights! Educate yourself.


  • Sana Rashid
    Oct 6, 2014 - 3:47PM

    Seriously disappointed in the way the situation was handled on our flight EK0609- there was a fire in the plane and the staff was incompetently trained to handle the emergency- there was a delay in opening the doors when we were clearly suffocating while the air hostess was announcing that the situation is out of their control and were as clueless as the panicked passengers- the pilot was mute and not communicating either. No oxygen masks, no lights and no directions for the passengers on either how to brace themselves or how to jump off the slide. No formal apology, no dinner and no compensation. We were travelling with infants aged 3 and 10 months who were petrified unable to breathe and throwing up. There was no help provided by the staff who seemed dazed at best and kept announcing to “stay down” when we were pleading to get the doors to open since we were at the brink of passing out due to the chemical smoke and could see the flames engulfing the aircraft. Better yet the lights went out and it was pitch dark which further added to our dilemma. Once they did open the doors no instructions were issued as to how to jump off the plane and there was a stampede due to which most of the passengers hurt themselves scraping their bodies on the tarmac. There was no ground staff to help either until much later. I am highly disappointed -I was travelling with my family who are still shaken up and top it off our luggage arrived 20 hrs later. Being a regular flyer it was a horrific experience and the lack of training of the staff is extremely worrisome. No one should have to suffer so.


  • Raj - USA
    Oct 6, 2014 - 6:02PM

    Do the airlines keep the same flight schedule for always and for ever? Don’t be stupid. Airlines change their destinations, routes and flight schedules. The flight I took was 8 years ago. Just looking at their current flight schedule won’t help. It is not just the flights. I have travelled to Taiwan many times and when I go from USA, I have landed there in a very modern airport. Once I took a flight from China to Taiwan and I landed in a different terminal that was not good. The liability laws for passengers in affluent countries, even for lost baggage are different than those in poor countries. BTW, my comment has nothing to do with Karachi.


  • nas
    Oct 6, 2014 - 10:06PM


    for ur kind information the countries which u calling 3rd world countries r countries from where emirates airline get profit. other destinations r in loss and emirates cover there loss from this asian countries. and who told u that these people dont knw how to use latrine or blah blah wht ever u said.? i feel sorry for u becoz u have not seen the world. pathetic statment and replied from u on this topic.


  • jbear
    Oct 6, 2014 - 10:19PM

    @Honky Tonk Man:


  • Ben Pico
    Oct 6, 2014 - 10:45PM

    I agree with Pommee, Honky, Sam, Salman.

    All those who aim to criticize EK, must begin to realize this: do not consider nor link EK with any premium airline of US. EK is no match to US carriers. Infact the other upcoming GCC airlines are only an imitation to EK. All flights either originate /depart to DXB with exceptions to New Zealand & CMB-SIN, CMB-MLE, MXP-NYC. Whether EK gets a pax load of 300 or 50 pax, they would still deploy the scheduled aircraft. Over here, the EK admin knew, the return flight KHI-DXB would fetch less than 100 pax. They still continued to fly the route to KHI. So stop complaining about any irraneous stuff about EK. The fire break out can cause due to various factors. Let’s just wait for the professionals to produce a detailed report.


  • pk
    Oct 7, 2014 - 1:01AM

    @Raj – USA:
    I am guessing you are one of those SELF OBSESSED MODIfied guy planning to set up a call center in MARS .. :)


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