Footage from aboard the Saudi team plane traveling to Rostov for their World Cup match appeared to show fire coming out of the engine. The Russian Airlines Airbus jet has landed safely at its planned destination.
“The Saudi Arabian Football Federation would like to reassure everyone that all the Saudi national team players are safe, after a technical failure in one of the airplane engines that has just landed in Rostov-on-Don airport, and now they’re heading to their residence safely,” said a statement from the federation’s English-language Twitter feed.
📄| The Saudi Arabian Football Federation would like to reassure everyone that all the Saudi national team players are safe, after a technical failure in one of the airplane engines that has just landed in Rostov-on-Don airport, and now they’re heading to their residence safely.— Saudi National Team (@SaudiNT_EN) 18 June 2018
Footage that appeared to be shot from a passenger seat, showing the wing of the Airbus A319-100 enguled in fire was spread on social media by Middle Eastern news outlets.
Russia’s Rossiya Airlines has dismissed reports that a fire had broken out on the plane as it was about to touch down in Rostov-on-Don.
“Information that the engine had reportedly caught fire is not true,” the airline’s press service told TASS, noting that the Airbus landed with both engines working.
The cause of the malfunction was initially identified as a bird strike in one of the engines mid-flight, it said, adding that at no point was the passengers’ safety compromised.
Rosaviatsia, Russia’s civil aviation authority, has stated that the incident was caused by the abnormal operation of one of the engines, which led to flames shooting from the exhaust. It further noted that, contrary to some reports, the incident did not cause the engine to ignite, nor was there any other malfunction.
Although there was no threat posed to the safety of those on board, Rosaviatsia promised it would carry out a thorough investigation of the incident, which will involve the designer and producer of the engine.
The Rossiya Airlines aircraft was traveling from Moscow to the south of the country, where Saudi Arabia faces Uruguay on Wednesday.
It will be the Gulf nation's second game of the tournament, following a painful 5-0 defeat at the hands of hosts Russia, in the opening match of the World Cup.
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