A major tragedy was averted on Saturday after a flight applied emergency brakes at nearly 300km/hr- moments before takeoff at Hong Kong International Airport, resulting in the bursting of tyres. According to a report by South China Morning Post, a Cathay Pacific Airways flight narrowly averted disaster when the brakes were applied as the aircraft hurtled down the runway for take-off. The report claimed at least 12 of the flight tyres were damaged and flames licking the wheels.
Flight CX880, bound for Los Angeles, returned to the gate after a “technical issue” caused the crew to abort the takeoff and “a precautionary passenger evacuation” was initiated, the airline said in a statement. It said those on board used five escape slides to exit the plane.
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Cathay Pacific gave no details on the problem. Public broadcaster RTHK reported one of the plane’s tires had overheated, causing it to burst, citing police. However, SCMP sources claimed that the cockpit crew first found problems with the device when the aircraft was taxiing on the runway for take-off early on Saturday. The flight was carrying 293 passengers and 17 crew members.
“We understand that 11 passengers are being treated at the hospital with injuries sustained during the evacuation process,” Cathay Pacific said. “Our priority is to look after all affected passengers and crew.”
By 10:30 am, nine of the injured passengers had been discharged from the hospital, the airline said later.
Using a different aircraft, the flight departed for Los Angeles at 10:12 a.m., carrying 283 passengers, it said. An Airport Authority spokeswoman told SCMP that the flight had aborted its take-off because of a “signal anomaly”.