BEIJING — More than 30 people were injured on Thursday when a Chinese passenger plane veered off the runway and caught fire, billowing black smoke.
The Tibet Airlines flight, carrying 122 people, took off from the southwestern city of Chongqing to Nyingchi in China’s Tibet region.
Video shared by state media showed the left side of the plane on fire and what appeared to be passengers leaving the scene. Other footage showed fire trucks spraying water on the plane. Tibet Airlines said the accident happened at 8:09 am.
The Airbus A319-115 jet had 113 passengers and nine crew members on board, all of whom have been evacuated. During the evacuation, 36 people suffered sprains or bruises, according to the Southwest Regional Branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
“During takeoff, the crew noticed that the aircraft was abnormal and the takeoff was stopped according to the procedure. The aircraft left the runway and caught fire after the engine hit the ground. The fire has now been extinguished,” the aviation authority said in a statement.
A passenger, Long Anquan, told China News Agency that he heard an abnormal noise when taking off, and then the plane began to tilt to one side and the wings hit the ground. Long Feifei bent down and put his hands on his head, but the impact was so strong that he was still injured.
Long said he felt lucky to have survived. “I’ve run out of luck in my life,” he said in an interview with China News Agency.
Chinese flight tracking platform VariFlight said the plane was 9 1/2 years old.
The airport said about two hours after the accident that flights had resumed and an investigation was underway. One of the three runways remained closed, the Civil Aviation Authority said.
The incident followed the March 21 crash of a China Eastern Boeing 737-800 in southeastern China, killing all 132 people on board. That accident, when the plane suddenly dived and hit the ground in the mountains, is still under investigation.