Probe report says Emirates jet hit by shifting winds before crash

Federal investigators say the pilot had tried to abandon landing after main wheels had already touched down

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The UAE investigators said on Tuesday that the Emirates jet that skidded along the runway on its fuselage at Dubai airport and caught fire last month was subjected to shifting winds as it made a failed attempt to abort a landing.

During the incident the plane, flight EK521, was subjected to changing wind direction, as a headwind swung to a tailwind and then began shifting back to a headwind, it said.

In a preliminary report on the August 3 incident, the UAE federal aviation authority said the pilot had tried to abandon the landing after the main wheels of the Boeing 777-300 had already touched down.

A few seconds later the plane became airborne again, only to descend and sink back onto the runway as the wheels were retracting into the aircraft. Seconds later the plane caught fire as it slid hundreds of metres on its fuselage.

All 300 passengers and crew were evacuated from the plane, which was arriving from Thiruvananthapuram, South India. Fourteen people were admitted to hospital. One firefighter was killed in
the intense blaze.

Final report later

A final report will be issued later. The report said the sole objective of the investigation was to prevent aircraft accidents and incidents. It would not apportion blame or liability, it said.

Emirates Airline in a statement welcomed the publication of the report and noted it did not cover causes of the accident or make final safety recommendations.

Emirates would review the report carefully, and was also conducting its own “rigorous internal investigation to proactively review what we know about the accident, and consider
measures that may enhance our operations or procedures”.

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