Boeing 737 Catches Fire During Takeoff in Senegal, 10 Injured

 May 10, 2024

An incident at Blaise Diagne International Airport left many shocked and uncertain.

A Boeing 737 with 85 passengers caught fire and skidded off the runway at an airport near Senegal's capital, resulting in injuries to 10 people, according to Senegal's transport minister.

AP News reported that the flight, already filled with 85 souls, comprised 79 passengers, two pilots, and four cabin crew members. The aircraft first showed trouble during an initial takeoff attempt late Wednesday night, leading to a temporary halt.

Following reassurances from the pilot, a second attempt was made, only to end in disaster when smoke began emanating from one of the aircraft's wings, triggering a fire that forced the plane off the runway.

Chaos Ensues: Passengers Evacuate Amongst Panic

Evacuation proved harrowing, as passengers found only one functioning slide available. Cheick Siriman Sissoko, a passenger who documented the ordeal on video, described the scene as one of "complete panic." Thoughts of imminent danger gripped the passengers, further adding to the chaos. Cheick Siriman Sissoko shared:

I saw my life flash before my eyes. I thought about my mother, my wife, my kids. Only the slide on one side opened, so there was complete panic during the evacuation.

The injured were promptly taken to a local hospital following the incident. Meanwhile, most of the unharmed passengers were accommodated in a nearby hotel, providing them a temporary shelter to recover from the shock and organize their next steps.

Response from Companies Involved

In the aftermath, Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, directed all inquiries back to Air Sénégal. They emphasized their readiness to support their client, stating, “We will provide any requested support to our customer.” This statement falls into a week marked by multiple incidents involving Boeing aircraft, including a tire burst during a landing in Turkey and ongoing federal scrutiny over safety issues.

Air Sénégal took to X to announce the rescheduling of its flights, including the Dakar to Bamako route, reflecting the ongoing disruption caused by the accident.

As aviation experts circled the occurrence, early signs suggested a complex mixture of mechanical and procedural failures. Further investigation will be crucial in uncovering the precise origin of the fire and evaluating the response measures that led to the chaotic evacuation. This incident injects additional tension into an already heightened scrutiny surrounding Boeing’s aircraft safety protocols.

Survivor Accounts Provide Harrowing Details

Cheick Siriman Sissoko's first-person account provides a vivid insight into the terror that engulfed the passengers. His thoughts during those terrifying moments resonate with the ordeal faced by many others aboard the ill-fated aircraft.

“The pilot told us everything was under control and that we’re going to try to take off again,” recounted Ibrahim Diallo. “The second time, smoke started coming from one of the wings,” he revealed, highlighting the rapid escalation of the situation.

Amidst these recounted horrors, the accident at Blaise Diagne International Airport serves as a grim reminder of the unpredictability and potential peril of air travel. The incident, besides causing physical injuries, has undoubtedly left emotional scars on those involved.

The airline and aviation authorities will need to address these concerns comprehensively. The results of the ongoing investigations into the series of Boeing-related mishaps will be authoritative in shaping future safety protocols to avoid the recurrence of such events. The safety of passengers, visibly shaken by this week's events, hangs in the balance as the airline industry watches on.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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