An Indigo plane from Delhi with 182 passengers on board caught fire today while landing at Kathmandu airport but no one was hurt after they were safely evacuated.
All the Indigo passengers and crew were quickly evacuated from emergency doors soon after the ground engineers observed fire from the right brake assembly of the Airbus 320, officials and the airline said, adding the fire was immediately brought under control. The aircraft was two-year old with no previous history of any technical fault being reported,
The low-cost no-frills airline said its flight 6E031 with 175 passengers, one infant and six crew members made a normal landing this afternoon at Tribhuwan International airport.
The ground engineers observed smoke and fire from the right brake assembly and advised evacuation of all passengers and crew, it said.
Indigo airlines said 171 passengers were evacuated by the flight chutes and remaining passengers and crew left the plane from the forward step ladder during the evacuation process that lasted 81 seconds.
According to a preliminary inquiry, the sparks occurred due to heavy braking during landing, which could have led to a hydraulic leak, DGCA sources said.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation will be conducting a full fledged inquiry into the matter.
The airline, however, ruled out the 'hard landing," as the cause of fire.
"The aircraft has been grounded and investigation is being carried out. Our engineers and material is reaching Kathmandu this evening. Hard landing is ruled out," an IndiGo spokesperson told PTI in Mumbai.
The aircraft is expected to be ready for operations tomorrow, the spokesperson added. Indigo Chief of Safety has also reached Kathmandu.
"The aircraft is only two years old. We have seen the maintenance records and no snags reported. No damage to the aircraft. The aircraft is expected to be serviceable within 5 hours of our team landing in KTM. We took action on the side of caution," an IndiGo statement said.
"Safety of all passengers and crew is of utmost importance to Indigo and there is absolutely no compromise on safety," it said.
IndiGo is despatching another aircraft from Delhi to ferry the passengers, booked on the return flight, the airline said.