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A Boeing 737 caught fire and skidded off the runway in Senegal, injuring 10 people.

A Boeing 737 caught fire and skidded off the runway in Senegal, injuring 10 people.

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A Boeing 737-300 carrying 85 people caught fire and skidded off the runway at Senegal’s main airport, near the capital, Dakar. The country’s Minister of Transport said on Thursday that ten people were injured in the accident, including the pilot.

Passengers were evacuated from the burning plane at Blaise Diani International Airport, with some describing a state of “total panic” as they tried for their lives.

The Air Senegal flight, operated by Transair, was heading to Bamako in neighboring Mali late on Wednesday with 79 passengers, two pilots and four crew members on board, when the accident occurred. The airport is located about 50 kilometers (31 mi) from Dakar.

It was not immediately clear why the plane caught fire and slid off the runway. The minister added that the injured were receiving treatment in the hospital, while the others were transferred to a hotel to rest.

AP reporter Karen Shammas reports on a plane that skidded off the runway in Senegal.

Malian musician Cheikh Sirimane Sissoko, who filmed the passengers’ ordeal with his phone camera, said passengers jumped down the emergency ramp at night as flames engulfed one side of the plane and screams were heard all around.

“I saw my life flash before my eyes,” he said. “I thought about my mother, my wife and my children,” Sissoko, 39, told The Associated Press from the hotel where a passenger was recovering from shock.

He added: “The slide was only opened from one side, so there was complete panic during the evacuation process.”

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Ibrahim Diallo, 20, a Malian national who was on board, said the plane had tried to take off earlier that night but had failed.

“The pilot told us that everything was under control and that we would try to take off again,” he told the AP. “The second time, smoke started coming out of one of the wings.”

Boeing referred all requests for comment to the airlines.

“Airlines operate and maintain their aircraft for up to 30 to 40 years,” a statement said. “We refer you to each operator for questions regarding their fleet operations. We will provide any support required to our customers.”

Air Senegal did not respond to a request for comment but posted a statement on social media platform X, saying flights between Dakar and Bamako had been rescheduled to a later date, without providing further details.

This is the third accident involving a Boeing plane this week. Also on Thursday, 190 people were safely evacuated from a plane in Türkiye After one of its tires exploded during landing The Turkish Ministry of Transport said at an airport in the south of the country.

The company has been under intense pressure since A The door plug of a Boeing 737 Max exploded During an Alaska Airlines flight in January, it left a large hole in the plane. The Federal Aviation Administration in February gave Boeing 90 days to come up with a plan to fix quality problems and meet safety standards for building the planes after the accident.

The crash raised scrutiny of Boeing to the highest level since two Boeing 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people. About a dozen Relatives of the passengers who died in the second accident The US government is pushing to revive a criminal fraud charge against the company by determining that Boeing violated the terms of the 2021 settlement.

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In April, Boeing whistleblower Sam Salehpour… He testified at a congressional hearing That the company had taken manufacturing shortcuts to build the 787s as quickly as possible could result in the planes being dismantled.

The Aviation Safety Network, which tracks aviation accidents, described the plane that crashed in Senegal as a Boeing 737-38G, an aircraft delivered in the 1990s. The network published pictures on X of the damaged plane in a grassy field, surrounded by fire suppression foam. It appears that one of the engines has been destroyed, and one of the wings has been damaged, according to the pictures.

The network is part of the Flight Safety Foundation, a non-profit group aimed at promoting safe air travel and tracking accidents.