Several injured after fire on board jet

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Nearly 30 Norwegian tourists on their way home from southern Turkey were injured when they were forced to evacuate their chartered flight after fire broke out in its cabin just before take-off. The flight was bound from Antalya to Ålesund and Trondheim.

The website for newspaper Adresseavisen, adressa.no, reported that most of the injuries occurred when panic broke out among some passengers and they tried to jump from the wings of the aircraft, a Boeing 737, down to the tarmac. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that two persons broke their legs, while others were suffering smoke inhalation and other minor injuries.

189 on board
A spokesman for the tour agency that arranged the flight, Detur, told NRK that 27 of the 189 persons on board were sent to the hospital. Most of them are Norwegian, he said.

Fatih Fadir of Detur told NRK that the company was arranging alternative transportation for the passengers heading to Norway but that four persons refused to fly right after the episode on board the flight from airline Corendon. “We’re trying our best to find a flight for them on another day,” he said.

Fadir said Detur has never experienced an incident like that aboard the Corendon flight, when smoke reportedly started billowing from a closet in the forward part of the aircraft while it was taxiing before takeoff around 3am Sunday.

One passenger, Idar Green from Verdal, told adressa.no (external link, in Norwegian) that the smoke, which he said seemed to come from the crew area directly behind the cockpit, set off panic among passengers. Crew members opened an emergency exit in the forward section of the cabin “and I opened the one I sat next to over the wing,” Green said. “Then we began to go out on the wing.”

Airline downplays drama
At first, he said, passengers didn’t risk jumping off the wing, but they began to do so when they saw flames on board the aircraft.

The actual evacuation reportedly only took a few minutes and emergency crews were on the scene quickly.

A spokesman for Corendon Airlines confirmed the incident but denied it was dramatic. He told NRK that there was smoke in the cabin and a decision was made to evacuate passengers and crew. There was perhaps some panic among passengers, he conceded, but claimed the evacuation was “normal.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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