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All 300 passengers safely evacuated after Emirates aircraft crashes at Dubai, bursts into flames

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 4, 2016

Emirates says it is “fully collaborating” with investigators after one of its Boeing 777-300 aircraft crash landed at Dubai International Airport on Wednesday.

The accident took place a little after 1245 local time, when 777-300 A6-EMW, operating EK521 from Thiruvananthapuram, India, to Dubai, skidded along Runway 12L before shortly bursting into flames.

The 282 passengers and 18 crew were safely evacuated. One firefighter was killed fighting the blaze.

Dubai International Airport was closed for a number of hours after the crash, but has since reopened.

“Emirates is fully collaborating with local authorities to determine the cause of the incident,” the airline said in a statement.


“All passengers and crew were evacuated safely due to the quick response of the teams at Emirates and Dubai International Airport.”

Of the 282 passengers and 18 crew, 226 were of Indian nationality, while there were 23 Britons and 11 from the United Arab Emirates, according to figures published by Emirates. There were two Australians on board.

The Qantas alliance partner said the 777-300, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines, involved in the accident joined the Emirates fleet in March 2003. Further, it said both the captain and the first officer had “over seven thousand hours of flying experience each”.

Boeing said it would send a technical team to Dubai to participate in the investigation.

“Under the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board, Boeing is launching a team and will serve as a technical advisor supporting the investigation led by the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA),” the manufacturer said in a statement.

Emirates’ chairman and chief Executive Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum posted a statement on YouTube shortly after the aircraft crashed:

Before later taking questions from journalists at a media conference in Dubai:

Qantas, meanwhile, says its flights through Dubai have not been affected by the accident.

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Comments (16)

  • Greg


    Hard to believe that passengers were more concerned about recovering their hand luggage than escaping a burning aircraft.

    Cabin crew yelling for passengers to evacuate. Passengers blocking aisles to empty overhead bins.


  • Chris Grealy


    Fourth loss of a 777. Boeing aint having much luck.

  • Mike Borgelt


    Time to mandate central locking of luggage bins controlled by flight or cabin crew. Bins locked for takeoff, landing and when seat belt signs illuminated. Tell the passengers during the safety brief that the bins are locked during these times so it is futile to try to retrieve items in them.

  • Paul Brisbane


    I was on a Thai 777 travelling to Brisbane a few years back that had a engine issue on take off. Struggled into the air with much vibration, dumped the fuel and returned.

    Great plane as a passenger can’t comment from a technical point of view.

  • Greg Hyde


    There has been six B777 hulls losses of which three were fatal:

    1. 17/01/2008 – BA – Heathrow – All Ok
    2. 29/07/2011 – EA – Cairo – Ground fire – All Ok
    3. 06/07/2013 – HL – San Fran – 3 lost
    4. 08/03/2014 – MH – MH370 – 239 lost
    5. 17/07/20145 – MH – MH17 – 298 lost
    6. 03/08/2016 – EK – Dubai – All OK

    Considering the 1350 built, it’s not a bad loss rate.

  • Red Barron


    Good point Mike totally agree

  • Nick



  • Mac Carter


    Incredible that passengers inside a burning aircraft cabin would try to recover bags from the overhead lockers.
    Central locking of overhead lockers must be considered for takeoff and landings.
    However, in the event of a cabin fire, short circuiting of electrical looms must be considered.
    Strange things have known to happen to actuator systems when wiring looms burn.
    Aircraft designers might consider a system operated by compressed air or nitrogen to actuate overhead locker central locking system to ensure that they stay locked in the event of a cabin fire.
    The cabin crew must be commended on their ability to evacuate the burning aircraft cabin with no major casualties or injuries.

    From a personal viewpoint, I with wife, recently travelled on a flight by one of our domestic carriers, who should remain nameless at this point in time, occupying the exit row on the A330. It should be noted that on this occasion there was no briefing with respect to operation of the emergency exit in the event of an emergency.
    I felt at somewhat unease due to the full and clear briefings issued by cabin crew on every other occasion that I, or we, had travelled while occupying the exit row.
    Hopefully, one would never need to know how to operate the emergency exit doors, however a full and clear briefing every time would be most welcome.

  • Ben


    @ Mike Kudos to you – Fantastic idea. In the interests of safety this is a no brainer. However I wonder when, if ever this would be mandated. Sadly it will probably take the loss of life of passengers where it can be solidly proven that retrieving baggage slowed the evacuation. A good way of implementing this locking of overhead bins would be to have it done simultaneously with the arming or disarming of the doors.

    More broadly I still think the 777 has an enviable safety record: In service over 20 years. I think only one hull loss (BA in 2008) can be attributed to a fault with the aircraft and then no lives were lost – probably more to do with the skill and professionalism of the crew in reacting to the situation so well. One MH loss was due to a shoot down and the other cannot be determined. These recent SQ and EK fires are more of a concern, but again all passengers survived. So until both investigations are completed I think it’s premature to question the safety record. I would have no hesitation in flying on a 777 at any time – Except maybe in a 10 abreast economy cabin on an ultra long haul sector 🙂 but that is more to do with comfort than safety.

    As a frequent flyer I still cannot get my head around how often passengers completely ignore the safety briefing. I always listen and familiarise myself with the demonstrations and where the exits are etc. I admit I can probably recite the QF, ZL and VA safety briefings in my head by now. However if anyone doesn’t listen to this and then are injured in a crash or evacuation because of not knowing the correct procedures – They only have their own inattention to blame. Despite flying being inherently safe, far too many passengers are far too blase about safety and ignoring the crew. Needless to say these are probably the same type of passengers that would try and retrieve baggage from overhead bins in an evacuation.

  • Shane


    Maybe part of the overhead locker issue is due to the excessive charging for standard 1 case of checked luggage.
    How often is hand luggage weighed and the bag size checked? Some of it is enormous, occupying a whole locker!

  • Tropicalcat


    Another interesting occurrence was that a number of passengers got burnt feet from the pavement, which would have been close to the 50c air tempature. Presumably most, but not all, of those passengers would have had bare feet in the plane.
    On flight after flight I see people on planes with bare feet and always despair at what would happen in the event of a real emergency.

  • Knackers


    Mike, problem with the ‘locking the overhead bins’ idea is that some of the safety/evacuation equipment (on some aircraft) is actually stored in the overhead bins. The other issue is weight, a sturdy central locking system would be heavy …. Just can’t see it happening.

  • Peter J Cesnik


    Mikes’s idea is solid…If the cockpit doors are locked why not the bb o/h lockers…

  • Walter Warawa


    I anxiously await the interim report of the incident / accident.

    Air Traffic Control apparently warned the pilots that their landing gear was not deployed, with the Pilot in Command, stating they will do a go-around.

    As such, the aircraft would not have been in landing configuration, and as such, the Ground Proximity Warning System must have activated.

    A number of things must be considered here. An aircraft cannot cross the aircraft boundary without gear down, unless it is a declared emergency. of which this was not., Yet this aircraft not only crossed that line, but crashed with gear up.

    Did they crew know the Landing Gear was NOT deployed, remains to be investigated,

    Obviously the known factors will become Obvious in times soon.

    As an aircraft Engineer / Pilot, I reserve my right for allocation of no blame for comment, and no reservations to others, given other comments

    I will say though everyone has a comment..

  • Martin


    I will join the others and also say I like the idea suggested by Mike. Why not write to IATA or similar suggesting it? This isn’t the first time similar carriage of baggage in an emergency evacuation has happened. I think Australian Aviation had an article on this very issue some years ago and in it may have made reference to the guy standing on the wing of the plane just still floating in the river in the USA with suit and baggage in hand….

    Would also be worth comparing evacuation time of this aircraft with the times achieved when evacuation times are measured for aircraft certification at time an aircraft is first built (probably using aircraft manufacturer employees who know why it is important for their company to evacuate the cabin swiftly, even if it isn’t a real emergency).

  • Ben


    @ Shane – I agree re cabin luggage. On just about every flight I see passengers struggling to get oversized luggage into the overhead bins. I quite often fly on regional turboprops (Dash 8, ATR and Saab 340) and I think the overhead lockers are smaller than a jet. Especially in the Saab. Yet the sizes of the bags are huge, I carry a small/medium sized backpack that will usually comfortably fit in the overhead locker of a Dash 8 or ATR and comfortably under the seat in front of me in the Saab. Yet some of the other bags are huge. Sometimes it looks like people are trying to stuff full size suitcases into the overhead bins and seem to be disappointed that they don’t fit. Then it gets tagged as premium cabin luggage and is kept with the crew and available at the ‘foot of the stairs’ upon disembarkation.

    Maybe the issue is restrictions on checked luggage – Or maybe its just a matter of people needing to pack lighter. I think the carry on baggage restrictions need to be enforced more stringently. All airlines have that metal frame thing that cabin luggage needs to fit in to at their check in or service counters. In all my years of flying I’ve NEVER seen them being used.

    It is bad enough that people are trying to take their luggage with them in an evacuation – This is made worse if the luggage is oversized.

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