Two Australians were onboard the Emirates plane which burst into flames after crash-landing at a Dubai airport on Wednesday, with dramatic footage purportedly showing the mad scramble to escape the cabin as it filled with smoke.
Pictures from the scene show the Boeing 777 billowing smoke then erupting into flame as it sits on the tarmac, just moments after all 300 passengers and crew escaped from the cabin.
Flight EK521 was coming from Thiruvananthapuram, in India, when it was involved in an "operational incident upon landing" in Dubai, Emirates said. The airline reported 226 people from India, 24 from the UK, 11 from the United Arab Emirates, six from the U.S. and two from Australia among the 282 passengers and 18 crew on board.
Emirates said there were no fatalities onboard due to the incident, but reports later emerged that a fire fighter had died during the containment of the fire. Around 14 people were taken to hospital, most with minor injuries. The status of the Australians on board is not known, but the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was trying to contact the Australians involved.
The cause of the hard landing and fire is as yet unknown, but those waiting for the passengers told media that they had been informed there was a problem with the landing gear.
"It was a sudden harsh landing and then we heard a sudden noise, like something has burst, then all of the sudden it felt like the pilot had lost control of the flight, it was going without any control without any speed," passenger Amelia Binu told Fairfax Media.
"I never thought it was terrorism, we knew something was wrong with the flight."
Dubai International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, was closed for several hours as emergency crews cleared the incident. Emirates chairman Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum praised the quick response and professionalism of the airline crew.