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SpiceJet plane catches fire after take-off from Patna

Patna: It was a close shave for 185 passengers on board a Delhi-bound aircraft of SpiceJet airlines on Sunday as the plane caught fire soon after taking off from the airport here and made an emergency landing minutes later, officials said.
This is for the second time in over a month that a SpiceJet aircraft turned back within minutes of take off. On May 3, a SpiceJet Boeing 737-8 Max plane returned to Chennai minutes after taking off for West Bengal's Durgapur.
In Sunday's incident, the SpiceJet aircraft took off from Patna airport shortly afternoon and local administration began receiving calls soon afterward that it has caught fire, District Magistrate Chandrashekhar Singh said. "Many people, mostly residents of the nearly Phulwari Sharif locality, began making frantic calls upon watching flames from the plane. Thankfully, all 185 occupants are safe," Singh told reporters at the airport.
Directors of Patna's Jaiprakash Narayan International Airport, Anchal Prakash, said arrangements were made for the affected passengers' travel to their destination by another plane.
SpiceJet said in a statement, "On takeoff, during rotation, cockpit crew suspected bird hit on engine 01. As a precautionary measure... the captain shut down the affected engine and decided to return to Patna."
"The aircraft landed safely in Patna and the passengers deboarded safely. Post-flight inspection showed bird hit, with three fan blades damaged," the airlines said in a statement. The aircraft has been grounded after Sunday's incident, an official said.
A viral video, shot from inside the aircraft, has surfaced that shows sparks coming out of the plane as it was mid-air before it landed back at Patna airport. A DGCA official confirmed the video is of Sunday's incident.
Airport officials said the emergency landing took place within 10 minutes of the takeoff while many passengers claimed they spent "15-20 minutes" inside the plane.
Safety concerns have always been associated with the airport here, which is surrounded by densely populated localities, including markets selling meat, fish and poultry which often increase the risk of bird hits.

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