Pakistan: Smoke forces emergency exit from plane

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Smoke inside the cabin of a Dubai-bound Emirates plane about to take off from Pakistan's Karachi airport forced an emergency evacuation of passengers from the aircraft on Saturday, a Pakistani civil aviation spokesman said.

The source of the smoke was not immediately known.

The spokesman, Pervez George, said the plane came to a halt on the tarmac after smoke started coming out of the cabin.

The aircraft had just pushed back from the gate and all 82 passengers onboard and the crew scrambled out of the Airbus 320 by jumping down an emergency chute.

Everyone got out safely and all the passengers were taken to a lounge to wait for another aircraft, George said. Other flights at the Karachi International Airport were not affected, he said, adding that the incident is being investigated.

In Dubai, the airline later said that the Emirates flight EK609 from Karachi was cancelled due to a "technical issue" and apologized for the inconvenience.

Karachi's airport is a vital transportation hub for Pakistan.

In June, militants laid siege to the airport in a five-hour assault that ended with 36 people dead, including the 10 attackers. The attack, for which an Uzbek militant group operating in Pakistan's northwest tribal areas later claimed responsibility, shocked the nation and raised concerns about the safety of flights operating into Pakistan.