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Last Updated: Monday, 12 March 2007, 11:31 GMT
Dubai airport shut after accident
Emergency crews swarmed around the stricken aircraft

Dubai international airport was forced to close for more than seven hours after a Biman Bangladesh Airlines plane aborted its take-off on the runway.

Up to 15 people were slightly injured in the accident, in which the plane's nose suddenly dived towards the ground and it skidded to a halt.

One unconfirmed report said the accident was caused by a wheel failure.

Some 71 flights to and from the airport - the busiest hub in the Middle East - had to be diverted or cancelled.

"There was a failure to take off and then the nose of the plane hit the ground," a spokeswoman for the United Arab Emirates civil aviation department, Shamma Lootahshe, told the AFP news agency.

Flight BG006 from Dubai to Dhaka was carrying 236 passengers and crew, all of whom were hurriedly evacuated from the plane.

Ground emergency crews swarmed round the aircraft, which left huge black skid marks on the runway.

"Fifteen people on board were slightly injured, most of them in the panic that erupted when the accident occurred, and have been taken to hospital," Ms Lootahshe said, adding that most of the passengers were Bangladeshis.

Passengers stranded

Some 35 incoming flights were rerouted to neighbouring airports while 36 departures were cancelled, a spokesman told BBC News.

The accident took place around 0630 (0230 GMT), and the airport did not re-open until after 1400 (1000 GMT).

Some tourists found themselves stranded.

"We were told that the flight was cancelled and to go the ticket desk to rebook. But there are no seats today or tomorrow. We have nowhere to go. They said hotels are all full," said British visitor Rachel Blackwell.

A spokesman said it was not clear how long the backlog would take to clear.

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