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Jet engine catches fire

AN engine caught fire as a passenger plane was about to take off yesterday morning in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, forcing passengers to evacuate, an airport official said.

The flight had been headed from Korla in south Xinjiang to the regional capital of Urumqi. The official, who asked not to be identified, said there were no injuries among the 40-some passengers.

The official said when the pilot started the engines at 10:25am, there was a loud bang and black smoke belched from the left engine of the ERJ aircraft, owned by the Tianjin-based Grand China Express, part of the Hainan Airlines Group.

The crew shut down the engines after ground personnel warned them of a possible engine fire and the doors were opened to evacuate the passengers. Experts later confirmed the inner cowl of the engine was ablaze, but there was no open flame after the engines were shut down. Fire-fighters stayed at the scene until midday before getting the all-clear to go.

The ERJ145 aircraft is a new-generation of turbo fan regional jet with 50 passenger seats. It is manufactured by China's Harbin Embraer, a Sino-Brazilian joint venture among Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA, Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Co Ltd and Hafei Aviation Industry Co Ltd.


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