Emirates plane crash-lands at Dubai airport

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Media captionA video shared on WhatsApp shows the panic on board the Emirates plane

An Emirates plane has crash-landed at Dubai International Airport and caught fire.

All 300 people on board were able to escape from the burning aircraft, but a firefighter was killed tackling the blaze.

The Boeing 777 appeared to have landed on its belly, and images showed thick black smoke rising into the sky.

Emirates chairman Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum paid tribute to the firefighter who lost his life fighting the blaze.

The aircraft was flying to Dubai from the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Flights to and from the airport were suspended for several hours but have now resumed.

The Emirates chairman told a press conference that evacuation procedures were executed professionally and the cabin crew were the last to leave the plane.

Thirteen people had suffered minor injuries, he said.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The inflatable emergency exit slides can be seen next to the remains of the aircraft

A passenger on board the plane told Reuters news agency that the experience was terrifying.

"As we were landing there was smoke coming out in the cabin," said Sharon Maryam Sharji.

"People were screaming and we had a very hard landing. We left by going down the emergency slides and as we were leaving on the runway, we could see the whole plane catch fire."

Emirates said there were 282 passengers and 18 crew on board from 20 nationalities, most of them Indian, with 24 Britons and 11 people from the United Arab Emirates.

The captain and the first officer have over 7,000 hours of flying experience each, the airline said.

Analysis by Richard Westcott, transport correspondent

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The fuselage has suffered extensive damage

As is usual following a big accident, there are lots of unconfirmed reports out there speculating about what happened.

The aircraft is sitting on the ground without its landing gear, but it is not clear why the wheels are not down.

Some reports suggest the crew were making a normal, rather than an emergency approach, when air traffic controllers told them to abandon the landing and start climbing again, for unknown reasons.

The answers should come out in the next few days.

Whatever the cause, it is a testament to the crew that they got everyone off the plane.

Richard Westcott: Why air travel is safer than ever

Image copyright AP
Image caption This family were among those on board the plane

Flight EK521, direct from Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai, is popular with hundreds of thousands of Kerala residents who work in the Gulf countries.

Emirates is the Middle East's biggest airline, and has an excellent safety record.

It ranked seventh in a survey of the world's safest airlines by AirlineRatings.com, an independent plane safety website.

Dubai International Airport is a major transport hub, one of the world's busiest for international passengers, operating with only two runways.

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