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Boeing plane carrying 85 people catches fire and skids off the runway in Senegal, injuring 10

The plane had attempted to take off earlier in the night but failed, a passenger on the said.

Boeing 737 of Transair en route to Bamako skids off runway at Dakar International Airport in Senegal on May 09, 2024. In a statement from the Ministry of Transportation, it was reported that a Boeing 737 passenger plane carrying 85 people veered off the runway at the airport in Dakar
Cem Ozdel/Anadolu via Getty Images

A Boeing 737 carrying 85 people caught fire and skidded off a runway at Senegal's main airport, injuring 10 people including the pilot, the country's transport minister said Thursday.

Passengers were evacuated from the burning aircraft and some described “complete panic” as they scrambled for their lives.



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The Air Sénégal flight operated by TransAir was headed to Bamako, in neighboring Mali, late Wednesday with 79 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew, when the crash happened at Blaise Diagne International airport, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Dakar.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the Boeing 737-300 to catch fire and skid off the runway. The injured were being treated at a hospital, while the others were taken to a hotel to rest, the minister added.

Passengers jumped down the emergency slides at night while flames engulfed one side of the aircraft and screams were heard all around, recounted Malian musician Cheick Siriman Sissoko, who filmed the passengers' ordeal on his phone.

“I saw my life flash before my eyes," he said. "I thought about my mother, my wife, my kids,” Sissoko, 39, told The Associated Press from the hotel where passengers were recovering from the shock.

“Only the slide on one side opened, so there was complete panic during the evacuation,” he added.

Ibrahim Diallo, 20, a Malian citizen aboard of the flight, said the plane had attempted to take off earlier that night but failed.

“The pilot told us everything was under control and that we’re going to try to take off again,” he told the AP. “The second time, smoke started coming from one of the wings.”

Boeing referred all request for comment to the airlines. “Carriers operate and maintain their airplanes for upwards of 30 to 40 years,” its statement said. “We will provide any requested support to our customer.”

Air Sénégal posted a statement on the social media platform X, saying that flights between Dakar and Bamako were rescheduled, but did not respond to requests for comment.

Boeing’s top executive Dave Calhoun is stepping down at the end of this year as the aerospace giant faces intense scrutiny over its 737 Max planes.

It was the third incident involving a Boeing airplane this week. Also on Thursday, 190 people were safely evacuated from a plane in Turkey after one of its tires burst during landing at a southern airport, Turkey’s transportation ministry said.

The company has been under intense pressure since a door plug blew out of a Boeing 737 Max during an Alaska Airlines flight in January, leaving a gaping hole in the plane. The Federal Aviation Administration in February gave Boeing 90 days to come up with a plan to fix quality problems and meet safety standards for building planes after the accident.

The incident has raised scrutiny of Boeing to the highest level since two crashes of Boeing 737 Max jets in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people. About a dozen relatives of passengers who died in the second crash have been pushing the U.S. government to revive a criminal fraud charge against the company by determining that Boeing violated terms of a 2021 settlement.

In April, a Boeing whistleblower, Sam Salehpour, testified at a congressional hearing that the company had taken manufacturing shortcuts to turn out 787s as quickly as possible that could lead to jetliners breaking apart.

The Aviation Safety Network, which tracks airline accidents, described the plane in Senegal's crash as a Boeing 737-38J, an aircraft that was delivered in the 1990s. The network published photos on X of the damaged plane in a grassy field, surrounded by fire suppressant foam. One engine appeared to have broken apart and a wing was also damaged, according to the photos.

The network is part of the Flight Safety Foundation, a nonprofit group that aims to promote safe air travel and tracks accidents.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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