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Heathrow runway shut after plane’s emergency landing because of ‘fire’

A British Airways plane surrounded by emergency vehicles after it had to make an emergency landing at Heathrow airport. Picture: Martin Keene/PA Wire A British Airways plane surrounded by emergency vehicles after it had to make an emergency landing at Heathrow airport. Picture: Martin Keene/PA Wire

Friday, May 24, 2013
9:13 AM

Both runways at Heathrow Airport had to be shut this morning after a British Airways plane made an emergency landing.

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@TBoneGallagher's picture of a British Airways plane surrounded by emergency vehicles after it had to make an emergency landing at Heathrow airport. Picture: David Gallagher/PA Wire@TBoneGallagher's picture of a British Airways plane surrounded by emergency vehicles after it had to make an emergency landing at Heathrow airport. Picture: David Gallagher/PA Wire

Heathrow said that 75 passengers and crew were safely evacuated from the plane following the incident at about 9am.

The plane was an Airbus A319 aircraft which had taken off from Heathrow to Oslo.

Both the northern and southern runways at Heathrow were closed after the incident, but have now reopened.

London Fire Brigade tweeted earlier: “One crew from Heathrow fire station is assisting Heathrow Airport’s fire service with an aircraft fire. ”

TV pictures showed smoke billowing from the stricken aircraft while it was airborne, and witnesses described seeing smoke coming from the plane, with the right engine on fire.

Clive Cook, who lives on the Heathrow flight path, told Sky News: “The actual engine itself was on fire.

“This plane was coming over and suddenly the tone of the engine changed dramatically, and I could almost say it sounded as if it was like a blowout, or an explosion.

“I’m absolutely certain that as it came through the clouds, and I looked up ... the right engine was on fire. It wasn’t smoking it was actually on fire.”

Mr Cook said he saw the plane over the Thames at Battersea as he was taking his daughter to nursery.

Another witness, who was working in his garden near Stamford Bridge, Chelsea, said it was “the type of thing you see on Seconds From Disaster”.

Jamie told Sky News: “All of a sudden we heard this almighty noise. It was like a fire jet going over. We could just see the right engine on fire - it was absolutely horrendous to see.

“You don’t see things like that every day, it’s incredible really. Your thoughts are with the people. If we could hear it that badly then what were the people going through on that plane?”

Jamie said he thought the plane was a few thousand feet above the ground.

He added: “It was below the clouds at this stage. To see an aircraft on fire - it wasn’t good to watch. It’s the type of thing you see on Seconds From Disaster, or something like that. It’s just crazy to see really.

“There were loads of flames coming from the back of the engine, the right engine, as it was coming over the top of us.”

Passengers on resumed flights at Heathrow were being warned to expect delays of up to 60 minutes as well extended aircraft taxiing time.

• “We are fully operational and the airport is now returning to normal. Pls check the status of yr flight w/ yr airline,” Heathrow Airport tweeted at 11.10am.

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