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Tibet Airlines plane catches fire after aborted take-off

The plane was due to take off from an airport in southwest China

The plane was due to take off from an airport in southwest China

A Tibet Airlines plane veered off the runway and caught fire at the Chongqing airport in southwest China on Thursday morning. All 113 passengers and nine crew members heading to the Tibetan autonomous region's Nyingchi city were safely evacuated from the plane, the airline said.

The crew of the Airbus A319-115 has detected "abnormalities" and suspended the take-off, Tibet Airlines said in a statement. The jet then overrun the runway and apparently caught on fire. Chinese state media images showed flames at the side of the aircraft, with passengers running from the scene. About 40 passengers sustained minor injuries.

"All passengers and crew have been safely evacuated," Tibet Airlines said in a statement, adding that the injured passengers "have been sent to hospital for treatment."

Photos taken after the fire was doused with water showed scorch marks covering the nose and one wing of the jet.

The cause of the incident was not immediately clear.

Previous clash still a mystery

In March this year, a Chinese Eastern Boeing 737-800 crashed in southeastern China. All 132 people on board were killed. The incident, China's deadliest crash in about 30 years, is still under investigation. No cause has been determined yet, despite the investigators recovering both black boxes soon after the March crash.

tg/dj (AFP, AP)