July 7, 2022

Panic on board a Paris-Perpignan: an engine catches fire on takeoff, the passengers evacuated

From the window, a purplish glow splits the darkness of the night at Orly airport. This Friday, one of the engines of the Airbus flight AF7470 bound for Perpignan caught fire, causing an emergency landing of the plane and the evacuation of its 48 passengers.

“On takeoff, the plane’s engine caught fire, we turned around”, describes Johann, on social networks. This passenger posted a video of the engine in question on Facebook on Friday. He describes the panic when the passengers realized the incident: “My heart almost stopped”.

An airflow problem

A few minutes after taking off, the plane made a full turn to land again at Orly, according to Flightradar24, a tool that lists flight routes. The plane’s right engine was the victim of “engine surge”, an air flow problem within one of the plane’s engines, a rare incident but taken into account in the manuals of security.

After starting to vibrate, the plane landed thanks to its left engine, still in operation. “A good pilot”, admits Johann, still on social networks. According to BFMTV and the Independent, no victims are to be deplored, apart from discomfort triggered following the explosion of the engine and the sight of the flames.

The route of the Airbus plane, one of the reactors of which caught fire this Friday on departure from Orly. Screenshot/Flightradar24

The presence of two engines on this type of aircraft makes it possible not to lose control of the machine in flight during incidents of this category. However, the procedure imposes an emergency landing, in particular because of the risk of the fire spreading. The passengers were taken care of by Air France and accommodated for the most part in hotels near Orly, before benefiting from a new flight.