On May 12, a Tibet Airlines flight from Chongqing to Nyingchi veered off the runway at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport and erupted in flames. All 122 people on board were successfully evacuated, and 36 passengers suffered minor injuries.
Mr. Zhao, a passenger from Wuhan, Hubei, recalled the incident to Sina News.
Zhao, a tourist, had planned to fly to Nyingchi, Tibet, and after boarding the plane, he texted a friend as the aircraft began to taxi on the runway.
Just as the plane was accelerating down the runway and preparing to take off, Mr. Zhao suddenly felt a violent shaking. Flight attendants called out for everyone to bow their heads as oxygen masks dropped down.
As they ground to a halt, the crew opened the front doors for everyone to exit the aircraft, and the emergency air cushion escape slides popped out.
He was sitting in the second row, and he quickly undid his seatbelt. Zhao was the second passenger to get off the plane. When he slid down the evacuation slide, he could see the plane’s left side in flames, where the damaged engine was located. Also, jet fuel was leaking from the wings onto the ground.
Soon, the flames became much more intense, with thick black smoke billowing up. When about 20 passengers had been rescued from the front exit,
the escape chute had also caught fire, and Zhao ran from the scene as fast as possible.
After getting to a safe distance, Mr. Zhao shot some live video showing the plane lying on its side on the runway, with flames erupting violently on the left side and billowing black smoke.
Zhao saw the plane’s cockpit window open, and a crew member seemed to fall from the window, injuring his leg.
Speaking about the aircraft incident, he said it felt like a car with a flat tire, where you couldn’t hold onto the steering wheel, with the vehicle spinning out of control.
He recalled that he would not forget this moment of escaping death for the rest of his life.
Some passengers were injured, but none seriously. One man had blood coming from a wound, and an older man suffered a panic attack. They were taken to the hospital along with others suffering minor injuries.
The rest of the passengers were taken to a nearby hotel, where doctors examined them. Some reported feeling dizzy, so they were also transported to the hospital.
In March, a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed in the mountains in southern China, killing 132 people on board. The plane nosedived and plunged into an almost vertical position, raising widespread speculation about what happened at the last moment. So far, the cause of the accident remains a mystery.