Plane forced to make emergency landing after engine catches fire mid-flight

Plane forced to make emergency landing after engine catches fire mid-flight

A passenger plane operated by Indonesia’s national airlines made an emergency landing after the engine caught fire shortly after taking off.

The Garuda Indonesia plane was travelling from an airport in the Indonesian city of Makassar to Madinah in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with 468 passengers onboard when the incident happened.

The Boeing 747-400 immediately returned to the airport of its origin after “fire was observed in one of the engines”, Garuda Indonesia said.

All the 450 passengers, including those going on Hajj pilgrimage, and 18 crew members were safely evacuated and no one was hurt in the incident, it said.

Videos shared on social media by JACDEC, a plane crash data evaluation firm, showed a blaze emanating from the engine just as the plane took off.

Garuda president-director Irfan Setiaputra said: “The decision was made by the pilot in command immediately after take-off, considering engine problems that required further examination after sparks of fire were observed in one of the engines.”

He said the plane was grounded as an investigation was being carried out into the incident.

The passengers of the flight were given accommodation before boarding a replacement flight later the same day, he said.

It was the latest incident to hit Indonesian carriers which were infamously banned by the US and the EU from flying into countries from 2007. The ban by the US was lifted in 2016 and by the EU in 2018.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, since 1945, the archipelago nation has recorded  106 civilian airline accidents, killing 2,305 people.

On 25 January this year, two pilots of Batik Air flight allegedly fell asleep in the cockpit mid-flight for 28 minutes. The flight with 153 passengers from Sulawesi to Jakarta veered off its course.

In 2021, a Sriwijaya Air flight also crashed and plunged into the Java Sea after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Around 62 passengers and crew members were killed in the incident.