Taiwanese and Japanese media reporting as of 0400GMT 20AUG07 that a China Airlines Boeing 737-800 exploded while taxiing in Okinawa airport after landing. The plane departed Taipei at 0823LT, and landed in Okinawa at 1028LT.
There were 157 passengers and 8 crews on board the 737-800. 4 crews including pilots at one point reportedly trapped on the plane.
Ground handling staff at Okinawa airport noticed the #2 engine caught fire while taxiing to Gate 41, which led to evacuation procedure on the plane. The plane then exploded after all evacuated safely. It is unknown whether it was engine problem or fuel leak caused by the ground handling. Eyewitness says they heard 4 explosions. Passengers on board told Taiwanese news station that the pilot announced something was wrong with the plane 15 minutes prior to landing.
The runway was briefly closed till 1100LT. The 737-800 was delivered in May 2002.
According to few media photos, an ANA plane landed safely amid smoke bellowing the skies.
All links are in local Japanese and Chinese language, by Yomiuri Online/Japan and ETToday/Taiwan
The incident has claimed 1 live according to Taiwanese media. A 58y/o Taiwanese passenger who has the history of High Blood Pressure died after the evacuation.
NHK has aired a footage filmed by local spotters, apparently. It shows the plane exploded minutes after passengers evacuated.
The plane appears to be registered B-18616.
An eight minute video of the firefighting effort can be found here. The starboard wing can be seen giving up the fight and dropping to the floor around the 1:05 mark.
My wings are like a shield of steel.
A Direct link to the NHK's video can be found here
(This is for 200K/Broadband with Windows Media Player)
There are conflicting reports whether the pilot knew about the engine fire because passengers are now claiming burning smell intruded the cabin and the flight attendants weren't even aware there were fire.
However, passengers seems to be satisfied with the evacuation procedure, according to a passenger interviewed by one of Taiwan's TV station during evening news hour.
Here's a link to the BBC's report on the fire.
I've just heard a rumour that China Airlines have offerered a measly $100 US dollars and an apology to the Taiwanese toursits who just got out in time before the explosion. Considering that people lost their luggage and nearly their lives, it seems a bit cheap that they only offer them such a small amount...
I doubt that a hundred dollar payment is the full compensation, perhaps it's an interim payment in order to allow the passengers to buy food and a change of clothes until they can be returned home?
Yeah i think you are right is to be honest, i think it was just a red packet payment as an interim payment rather than compensation. Well i hope that is the case anyway
The $100 is just a temporarily compensation as most of the Taiwanese passengers are tourists to Okinawa for sightseeing.
Further compensation is to be discussed, and I won't be surprised if a new record of compensation is reached.
737-NG wing slat's to be inspected. Link courtesy of BBC:-