Air China plane catches fire, sustains extensive damage as passengers prepare to board

Large amounts of smoke were seen billowing out of an Air China plane at Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday as passengers were preparing to board a flight to Tokyo.

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The plane was scheduled for a 5:10 p.m. departure, local time, when the smoke began pouring from both the front and back of the plane. According to the South China Morning Post, the plane caught fire  though no flames were present.

All those on board were able to evacuate safely, Air China confirmed on its social media page.

All those on board were able to evacuate safely, Air China confirmed on its social media page. (South China Morning Post / Weibo)

In photos and video taken by witnesses, the smoke can be seen quickly billowing from the plane. In one shot, the top of the plane is seen charred and heavily damaged.

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There were no flames, the airline reported, and no one was injured during the incident.

The plane was scheduled for a 5:10 p.m. departure, local time, when the smoke began pouring from both the front and back of the plane.

The plane was scheduled for a 5:10 p.m. departure, local time, when the smoke began pouring from both the front and back of the plane. (South China Morning Post / Weibo)

All those on board were able to evacuate safely, Air China confirmed on its social media page.

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“The crew quickly executed the firefighting measures and organized the safe relocation of all passengers,” Air China said in the post, South China Morning Post reports.

The airline said no passengers were on board the flight at the time the smoke began.

The smoke came from the plane’s front cargo hold, the airline said. The cause is currently under investigation.

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Associated Press contributed to this report.