TOKYO – An engine fire broke out on a Korean Air jet about to take off from a Tokyo airport Friday, forcing the evacuation of the plane and dramatic scenes of firefighters extinguishing the blaze.
The Tokyo Fire Department said 19 people were either injured in the evacuation or felt unwell after it, Japan's Kyodo News service reported.
Firefighters put out the blaze within an hour, said Kyosuke Okada, a government official assigned to Haneda Airport. He said 302 passengers and 17 crewmembers were on board.
Japanese television broadcast live images of fire trucks blanketing the left-side engine and almost the entire side of the plane with white foam as smoke came out of the back of the engine.
Emergency exit chutes were deployed from the plane's doors, and passengers gathered on a wide grassy area next to the runway and near the choppy waters of Tokyo Bay.
Flight 2708 was headed to Seoul. The runway the plane was using was closed and all other flights were temporarily halted, Okada said. He said the cause of the fire was still unknown.
Korean Air said it will investigate the cause of the problem with the Boeing 777-300. A different plane was sent to Haneda later Friday to transport the passengers, it said in a statement.