A major air disaster was averted on Sunday morning in Dubai when an Emirates flight took off mere seconds after touching down because another carrier was already on the same runway.
"Emirates flight EK523 from Trivandrum to Dubai landed at 0722 on November 7, 2010. The aircraft initiated a go-around sequence at the time of landing, after momentarily touching the runway. This is a standard procedure initiated by crew or Air Traffic Control to ensure the safe operation of the flight," said an Emirates spokesperson.
"The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance and will not be compromised,” the spokesperson added.
The near miss involved flight number EK523, arriving at 7am from the South Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram. A passenger onboard the carrier confirmed the incident with Emirates 24|7, saying the pilot made this announcement over the public address system.
Dr Ashok D, 43, who was aboard the A330-200 flight, said: “The flight had already been delayed considering we were scheduled to arrive at 6.20am, but made landing at 7am. Yet, as soon as the plane touched down, it was airborne again within seconds.
“Many passengers were still asleep at the time, but the few of us who were awake were quite alarmed by this as the plane took off at a very steep angle – almost 45 degrees.
“It was within five minutes that the pilot announced over the PA system, apologising for the inconvenience, and saying that because there was another plane already on the runway, he was forced to take off immediately.”
Dr Ashok said the plane circled the airspace for another 20 minutes, before it landed “in a different area from where we normally land; the bus ride to Terminal 3 took another 20 minutes”.
When contacted, both Emirates airline and Dubai Airports said they are investigating the matter.
“All of us are grateful to the pilot’s vigilance, because had he hesitated even for a second, who knows what could have happened,” the passenger stated.
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