Firefighter Dies Tackling Emirates Plane Runway Blaze

By Chika Dunu
Chika Dunu
Chika Dunu
August 3, 2016 Updated: August 3, 2016

A firefighter died on Aug. 3 while responding to an Emirates plane crash-landing in Dubai, according to local reports.

“The General Civil Aviation Authority says a firefighter lost his life battling the blaze of Emirates plane while saving the lives of others,” read a tweet from the Dubai media office.

Emirates Group CEO Ahmed bin Saeed hailed the sacrifice of the deceased firefighter.

“We pay tribute to the firefighter who lost his life fighting the blaze. We thank all teams that dealt with the incident,” said Saeed.

Saeed also tweeted that 13 people were treated for minor injuries by medical personnel after the incident at Dubai International Airport.

The Boeing 777 aircraft departed from Trivandrum International Airport in India on Aug. 3 and was scheduled to land at Dubai International Airport at 12:50 p.m. local time. At approximately 12:45 p.m. Emirates flight EK521 was “involved in an operational incident” which resulted in the aircraft catching fire, said the airline in a statement.

Airline officials refused to answer journalists’ questions about possible cause of the accident. However, an air traffic control report revealed it aborted its landing seconds before touching down, according to the Mirror.

Emirates confirmed all 282 passengers and 18 crew members on board were safe.

Saeed thanked the crew members for their efforts in ensuring that all on board were safely evacuated.

“Evacuation procedures were executed professionally. Cabin crew were the last to leave the plane,” he said.

Following the incident, Dubai International Airport was closed for several hours and numerous flights were cancelled, delayed, or diverted. Dubai airport resumed operations at 6:30 p.m. local time.

Little is known about the pilot, other than that he is an Emirati national and is highly experienced with 7,000 flight hours, according to Saeed.

Emirates passengers who purchased flight tickets on or before Aug. 3 have been given the opportunity to either cancel or rebook flights free of charge.