A China airlines jet burns out of control while it sits on the runway in Okanawa Japan on August 19, 2007.
Updated: Sun. Aug. 19 2007 11:26 PM ET
TOKYO — A China Airlines jet has exploded in flames at an airport in Okinawa after arriving from Taiwan but there are no injuries among the 157 passengers.
Japanese broadcaster NHK says at least two crew members were rushed to hospital.
A Japanese Transport Ministry official and a China Airlines official in Taipei say all 157 passengers disembarked from the Boeing 7-3-7 before the fire began.
Fire official Eri Terukina says the two pilots escaped and NHK reports all six flight attendants also made it off the plane alive.
Transport Ministry official Akihiko Tamura says the fire started when the first engine below the main left wing exploded a minute after the aircraft entered its parking spot.
NHK showed footage of a squad firefighters dousing the plane with extinguishers as flames and clouds of black smoke billowed from the fuselage.
“After the plane landed, there were flames and I heard explosions a few times then saw black smoke,” airport worker Hideaki Oyadomari told NHK.
“We felt the hot air coming our way.”
The cause of the fire was unknown. Japan’s National Police Agency said terrorism was not suspected.
The Okinawa fire is a setback to China Airlines, which in recent years appeared to have improved on its formerly unenviable safety record among international carriers.
A China Airlines 747 crashed in 2002 as it flew from Taipei to Hong Kong, leading to 225 deaths, and some 450 people died in China Airlines accidents during the 1990s.
The soon-to-be renamed and rebranded Taiwan Airlines magically exploded after the passengers and most of the crew got off in time. I plan on using EVA Air, the REAL Taiwan Arilines, when I make that trip to the island in the coming months…This is just scary and shows why Taiwan Province is still a joke…