Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Five Ethiopian Airlines passengers returned home after a fire broke out on a flight from Ethiopia’s capital to a popular tourist destination in northern Kenya Friday.
The fuel tank of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft caught fire and smoke filled the cabin just moments after the plane took off from Addis Ababa at 6:24 p.m., according to a statement on the airline’s website.
“The captain quickly notified the control tower of the suspected fire in the right engine,” the statement said. “The flight crew and passengers continue to be calm and acted responsibly.”
The passengers, four men and a woman, were in the middle of a 16-hour journey to the resort town of Arusha and were quickly accommodated on another flight from Nairobi, the capital, which arrived shortly after midnight.
“From what I understand, the plane had to make an emergency landing before, and smoke was no big deal,” said Ugandan journalist Daniel Odinda.
“Passengers were quick to line up for seats on the next plane to come,” he added.
An engine explosion
A US safety board issued a report this week in the investigation of a Lion Air crash that killed all 189 people aboard, and the reason behind it has been a source of much speculation. The Lion Air crash occurred just 17 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia.
Indonesia has been the country most affected by the decision to ground all the Boeing 737 Max 8s.
At this point the cause of the Addis Ababa fire has not been determined.
“Initial indications indicate that a fuel oil leak triggered an engine fire that was quickly extinguished,” Ethiopian Airlines said in its statement.
“One of the engines in the Ethiopian 737 Max 8 has been replaced as a precautionary measure. All of the damaged engines have been inspected.”
Ethiopian Airlines has a good safety record and logged no crashes in its history.