Jet Catches Fire in Japan; Passengers, Crew Escape

Plane's engine exploded; cause unknown
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 20, 2007 7:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – A jet burst into flames after landing in Okinawa today, moments after all 165 people onboard escaped. The China Airlines plane skidded while landing on arrival from Taipei, and its left engine exploded shortly afterward. The cause of the fire is unknown, the AP reports. Firefighters took an hour to put out the blaze, leaving a blackened hulk.

The 157 passengers and eight crew members evacuated the Boeing 737-800 on emergency slides. Taiwanese authorities immediately grounded China Airlines' 13 other 737-800s. The incident is a blow to the Taiwanese carrier, which had been improving its safety record. A China Airlines 747 crashed in 2002, killing 225, and about 450 died in accidents during the 1990s.