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300 people escape fiery crash landing

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DUBAI (AFP) – Dubai airport, the world’s busiest in terms of international passengers, resumed flights on Wednesday after a nearly four-hour shutdown caused by an accident involving an Emirates plane, authorities said.

“Dubai International Airport resumes operations for departure & arrival flights,” said the government’s official Twitter account.

Hundreds of passengers fled an Emirates airliner that crash-landed and caught fire in Dubai, resulting in the death of a firefighter and a four-hour shutdown of the busy airport but no other fatalities.

The exact circumstances of the accident involving the Boeing 777 flying from India with 300 people on board were not immediately clear. Footage on social media showed thick black smoke billowing from the aircraft on the ground.

Emirates chief executive officer Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum spoke of an “operational incident” that happened on landing and ruled out any “security issue”.

The fire erupted on board the aircraft after the incident, he said, adding that the cause was not yet clear.

Emirates said that all passengers and crew on board flight EK521 from Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai were accounted for and safe.

Sheikh Ahmed later told reporters later that 13 people on board were hospitalized, most of them for minor injuries.

The director general of the General Civil Aviation Authority, Saif al-Suwaidi, said in a statement that “one of the firefighters lost his life while saving the lives of the others.”

Investigators had been sent to work with Emirates and the Dubai airport authorities, he said.

Emirates said that there were 282 passengers and 18 crew members on board, including 226 Indians, 24 Britons and 11 Emirati nationals.

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