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Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 18:07 UK

Fire breaks out on plane in Paris

Eight people were injured during the evacuation of the Airbus A320
Eight people were injured during the evacuation of the Airbus A320

Eight people have been injured after a fire broke out in an engine on a passenger plane preparing for take-off from Orly airport in Paris.

The people were slightly hurt as they tried to escape the plane via its emergency exits.

The flames were quickly extinguished by the airport's firefighting teams.

The Airbus A320, flown by low-cost Spanish carrier Vueling, had been due to fly to Alicante when the fire broke out as it headed towards the runway.

An airport official at Orly said the fire was quickly brought under control. The alarm was triggered at 1035 (0935 GMT) and the incident was over by 1109, the official said.

Passenger Terry Volante told the AFP news agency that he saw black smoke coming from the jet engine when the plane was readying for take-off on the tarmac.

"The firefighters arrived less than two minutes later, a steward opened the doors, activated the escape slides and a flight attendant told us in Spanish to evacuate," said Mr Volante.

The injuries included a twisted ankle and bruises sustained as passengers slid down the slide, Mr Volante said.

Panic

Passenger Alix Gossellin told the Reuters news agency there was some initial concern.

"People started to panic a little bit and some climbed over the seats, and then the emergency chutes came out and within five minutes we were on the tarmac. So it was quite quick. It was very impressive because it was each man for himself."

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Another passenger, Soizic Prono, told AFP the actions of the flight crew did not help.

"A flight attendant was screaming, she was speaking in Spanish. This triggered panic and people were stepping on each other.

"People were crying. We were on the tarmac, terrified."

Jose Luis Casado, a representative of the Spanish carrier Iberia, which owns nearly half of Vueling, said that a ground employee spotted liquid leaking from one of the engines as it was starting.

The employee sounded an alert, but the fire broke out soon after.

The decision was made to use the emergency slides and not wait for the boarding ramp to be put back in place to evacuate the passengers, Mr Casado said.

"Of course, it is a very spectacular procedure because we use the emergency slides, we make the usual announcements, asking people to take off their shoes and leave their luggage on board the plane. It's quite a traumatic experience for the passengers," he said.



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