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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 14:53 GMT
Passengers escape aircraft fire
The PIA jet at Manchester Airport
Passengers had to escape via emergency chutes
More than 200 passengers escaped down emergency chutes after a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) jet caught fire at Manchester Airport on Tuesday.

The Boeing 777 from Karachi was taxiing on the runway when a fire started in the undercarriage, the airport said.

Flight PK789 was en route to Toronto, Canada, with 220 passengers and 12 crew on board.

Four similar fires involving PIA jets last year were blamed on the wrong grease being used by the airline.

The report followed three fires at Manchester - one in May 2004 and two in June 2004 - and a fourth in Toronto, Canada, also in June 2004.

Since then the airline has changed the grease it uses and it is unclear what caused Tuesday's fire.

It was a very small fire that was dealt with very quickly by our fire service
Russell Craig, airport spokesman

The flight had landed at 0903 GMT and passengers were due to disembark at Terminal Two.

A small fire in the undercarriage was spotted and the plane stopped near Terminal One where the airport's firefighters tackled the flames.

Russell Craig, a spokesman for Manchester Airport, said: "It was a very small fire that was dealt with very quickly by our fire service."

New flight

Emergency services helped lead the passengers and crew from the plane, a Greater Manchester Police spokesman said.

Greater Manchester Ambulance Service said ambulance crews saw 33 passengers and seven were taken to hospital to be treated for "relatively minor" injuries.

Five were taken to Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester and two to Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport.

An airport spokesman said the rest of the passengers were taken to Terminal Two to wait for a new flight on to Toronto in the afternoon.

The airport was not closed during what was classed as a "ground" incident.
Manchester Airport
A full investigation into the fire will take place, said Mr Craig.

The report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) of the Department of Transport in September last year was into fires on the same Boeing 777 aircrafts.

It found the wrong type of grease was being used by the airline to lubricate the undercarriage and was thought to be causing fires when the brakes heated on braking after landing.

Manufacturer Boeing warned in 2001 that excess grease needed to be cleaned from the brakes.

Chris Yates, a transport expert from Jane's Transport, said the incident was unusual but minor.

"When an aircraft is moving like this and it's full of passengers you have to get those passengers off just in case anything does develop further.

"There was significant danger that this could have developed into a much larger fire, something much more serious."

Two planes catch fire at airport
09 Jun 04 |  Manchester

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