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Emirates jet bursts into flames in crash-landing at Dubai airport

Fireman killed putting out blaze but all 300 passengers and crew safe, authorities said, after flight from India makes emergency landing
Image of burning plane on runway (Source: Twitter)

An Emirates Airline flight from India caught fire after making an emergency landing at Dubai International Airport on Wednesday, in an incident that officials have said was "not related to security".

A Dubai-based firefighter was killed tackling the ensuing blaze, but all 300 passengers and crew escaped from the burning fuselage, authorities said.

"All operations" at Dubai International Airport, a major regional transport hub, were suspended following the incident, the government said in a statement, and flights into the airport were diverted to other facilities in the UAE.

Pictures and videos showing the Emirates Boeing 777 burning on the tarmac were posted on social media, showing a thick black plume of smoke rising from the plane.

All passengers were evacuated from the plane and the area was cordoned off following the crash landing, the media office said on its Twitter account.

The plane had set off from the Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai. 

Speaking to the press on Wednesday afternoon, the head of Emirates airlines said that a firefighter had been killed tackling the blaze.

All 282 passengers and 18 crew members on board flight EK521 when the Boeing 777 plane crashlanded escaped safely, the airline said, stressing that the company is "extending full co-operation to authorities and emergency services managing the situation".

The airline released a statement detailing the nationalities of all those on board - 226 were from India, 24 from the UK, 11 from the UAE and six from Saudi Arabia, with the remaining 27 coming from 15 different states. 

Emirates said it would retire two of its Boeing 777-300 aircraft of the same type as the one that crashed on Wednesday during 2016 due to their age.

The airline said there would be a four-hour delay across its global flight network as a result of the crash, whose cause remains unknown.

The airport was completely shut down following the incident, and all flights bound for Dubai International Airport will be diverted to Maktoum International Airport or Sharjah International Airport for the rest of Wednesday.

Dubai International Airport is a major transport hub, serving some 66 million passengers a year.

Emirates, the flag carrier airline of the UAE, is the largest airline in the Middle East.