Northern Ireland

Belfast plane: Investigation after engine catches fire

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Media captionBilly Pollock's video shows passengers on board the flight applauded as the plane made its emergency landing

An investigation is under way after an plane en route to Belfast City Airport was forced to make an emergency landing at the International because of a fire in one of its engines.

The Flybe flight had been travelling from Glasgow to George Best Belfast City Airport but was diverted.

The ambulance service said all 76 passengers and four crew were taken off the plane safely.

One person was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Flybe confirmed the flight was diverted due to a small engine fire "which was extinguished before landing".

An inspection of the plane is under way.

Image caption An inspection is under way on the plane, which remains at Belfast International Airport

Quintin Oliver, who was on the BE130 flight, said some passengers noticed the fire about half-way into the flight.

"It's a short 20 to 25-minute flight and there was a visible shudder throughout the plane and those on the left hand side behind the engine clearly saw it burst into flames," he said.

"Some of them described it as a burning rocket, as the flames were shooting out the back and the plane lurched a little, not dramatically, but a little as it presumably stabilised on the second engine.

"There was a lot of apprehension. There was no hysteria. The staff were as reassuring as they could be but they were visibly shaken, as well, which doesn't exactly command confidence amongst the passengers."

He said one of the emergency exits did not have steps so passengers had to jump about six feet onto the runway.

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Media captionPassengers spoke of their fears as flames erupted from the left-hand side of the plane

Owen Glenn, who had also been travelling on the plane, said there had been a "big fireball in one of the engines which lit up the whole side of the plane".

"There were sparks coming out. So they shut down that engine. We were running on one engine after that," he said.

"People were getting a little panicked. The crew were doing their best to calm everybody down but people weren't really sure what was happening."

Image caption Billy Pollock said people were upset but not hysterical

Another passenger Billy Pollock said he looked out of a window and saw an engine on fire.

"There was some concern, and a lot of people were quite upset but not hysterical," he said.

"The pilot did a super job, great landing. There was an emergency evacuation."

The plane had initially been delayed in Scotland because of a suspected problem with a wheel.

In a statement about the Belfast emergency, Flybe said: "The emergency services attended as a routine and precautionary measure.

"At no time was the safety and well-being of passengers compromised."

Most of the passengers were taken by bus to Belfast City Airport.

However, about 20 passengers remained at the airport more than three hours after the emergency landing, as their luggage was still on the plane.

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