Airbus emergency landing at Phuket

PHUKET - An Air Berlin Airbus made an emergency landing at Phuket airport on Thursday night, bursting several tyres, after smoke was detected in the cabin 20 minutes after taking off on a flight to Abu Dhabi.

No injuries were reported, but over 1,000 passengers' flights were delayed while the runway remained closed.

Just 20 minutes after taking off from Phuket for Abu Dhabi, flight, AB 7425 with 249 passengers and a crew of 10 turned back to Phuket international airport.

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The Air Berlin Airbus sits on the runway at Phuket airport after an emergency landing on Dec 20, 2012. (Photo by Achadtaya Cheunniran)

Three of its tyres exploded as it landed. Emergency airport crews sprayed water on the Airbus A-330 jet liner's undercarriage to cool it down. The airport was shut down for six hours before the runway was reopened.

All the  passengers, mainly German nationals, were safely evacuated from the aircraft. They were put in a Phuket hotel for the  and were due to leave on another plane Friday.

A man who lives near the airport said he heard three explosions shortly after the plane took off and saw smoke billowing out from the back part of the fuselage. 

Somchai Sawasdeepon, senior executive vice president of Airports of Thailand, said the aircraft remains groundeed and is being inspected by maintenance crews. He confirmed there were no casualties.

Air Berlin operates seven flights a week between Abu Dhabi and Phuket. The carrier serves about 40 million passengers per year and boasts a fleet of 233 planes.

The Phuket airport runway was closed from 9.20pm Thursday to 3.30am Friday because of the emergency. This affected 11 flights, delaying the departures of 1,016 passengers. Six flights had to land at other airports and five flight departures were delayed at Phuket.

Related search: Air Berlin, Thailand, Phuket, emergency landing, plane

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Writer: Achadtaya Chuenniran
Position: Writer