August 20th, 2007 05:01 EST
Plane Combusts After Landing in Taiwan
A China Airlines passenger plane departing from Taiwan was almost completely destroyed by fire on Monday morning after arriving at the Naha airport in Southern Japan's Okinawa Prefecture, according to Japanese media.
None of the 157 passengers and eight crew members were injured in the accident. The fire broke out after everyone had left the vehicle after noticing the start of a fire, airport and Japan's National Police Agency (NPA) officials said.
"All 157 passengers evacuated through the emergency slides," Akihiko Tamura, a transport ministry official, told a press conference in Tokyo.
He also said the eight crew members were confirmed alive. He added, "There is information that one of them is injured and we are still looking into how serious his injury is."
The airline earlier put the passenger count at 155 but previously did not register two infants without tickets.
Kyodo News quoted China Airlines officials as saying that the fire broke out at around 10:30 AM. The fire started in an engine located below one of the main wings of the Boeing 737 plane shortly after it had landed.
While the cause of the fire is still unknown, the NPA denied any terrorist attack behind the accident.
TV footage showed that strong fire and thick smoke rose from the middle and end parts of the plane before about ten fire department vehicles and about a hundred firefighters gathered around the plane. They extinguished the fire in about 40 minutes.
The plane, numbered flight 120, tilted and broke down to the ground, with its left body almost burnt out, latest NKH footage showed.
The plane departed from Taipei, Taiwan and landed at Naha, the capital of Okinawa, Japan, at 10:27 AM local time (0127 GMT).
Source:(Xinhua News Agency )