A Tibet Airlines jet carrying 113 passengers plus 9 cabin crew swerved off the runway and burst into flames midway through take-off.
Footage shows passengers evacuating on slides and sprinting across the runway moments before the Airbus A319 jet’s left engine burst into flames this morning.
Though all 122 onboard made it to safety, 36 were taken to hospital with injuries.
Flight TV9833 was departing from south-western city Chongqing to Nyingchi, Tibet.
The news comes weeks after China Eastern Airlines flight 5735 crashed in the Guangxi mountains, killing all 132 onboard.
Footage posted to TikTok and Weibo shows passengers flee as the left engine catches on fire
Passengers made a rapid escape as flames continued to engulf the Airbus A319 (left and right)
What caused the March 21 crash remains unclear.
The Civil Aviatipn Administration of China (CAAC) said the Tibet Airlines pilots interrupted takeoff after spotting ‘abnormalities’, Reuters reported.
Fire crews and investigators scrambled to the scene at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, officials added.
The tragedy shocked a country which had one of the best airline safety records in the world and whose aviation industry was, in the decade before COVID, one of the world’s fastest growing markets by passenger traffic.
The Tibet Airlines plane is a nine-year-old A319, one of the smallest versions of the A320 family.
It is powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran, according to Airfleets.net.
Numerous fire engines rapidly attended the scene, which was filled with scattered jet pieces
The engine fire tore all the way through the Tibet Airlines plane’s metal coating, images show
Airbus said it was aware of media reports about the incident and was making all efforts to assess the situation.
State-owned Tibet Airlines is a regional carrier based in Lhasa.
It has a fleet of 39 planes, including 28 A319s, according to Airfleets.net.
Evacuation slides, which can often cause minor injuries, were deployed, unverified photos posted to social media showed.
Few clues which might explain the deadly March 21 crash have emerged.
Investigators are still attempting to extract data from the heavily damaged black box flight data and voice recorders, which might offer insight into the plane’s final minutes.
The US National Transportation Safety Board is currently processing data from the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
The crash left a 65-foot-deep crater in a mountainside, shattered the plane and set off a fire in the surrounding forest.
More than 49,000 pieces of plane debris were found.
It took two days to find the cockpit voice recorder and six days for the flight data recorder, which was buried 5 feet underground.