Passengers injured as plane leaves runway in western China

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Passengers injured as plane leaves runway in western China

BEIJING – A Chinese passenger jet left the runway upon takeoff and caught fire in western China on Thursday morning, and several people were injured.

Tibet Airlines said it happened at 8:09 a.m. (0009 GMT) as the flight to the city of Nyingchi in the Tibetan Autonomous Region was preparing to take off from the western city of Chongqing.

The Airbus A319-115 jet had 113 passengers and nine flight crew onboard, all of whom were safely evacuated with some taken to a hospital with minor injuries, the airline said in an statement.

The plane itself had fire damage, it said.

“In the process of taking off, the flight crew discovered an abnormality with the aircraft and stopped the takeoff, after which the aircraft left the runway,” the statement said.

The incident follows the crash of a Chinese Eastern Boeing 737-800 in southeastern China on March 21 in which all 132 people on board were killed. That accident, in which the plane went into a sudden nosedive and slammed into the ground in a mountainous area, remains under investigation.

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