A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight scheduled to arrive in Johannesburg on Thursday was forced to divert due to an onboard fire.
PHOTO: Siegfried Modola/Getty Images
- A KLM flight to Johannesburg was forced to divert back to Amsterdam Airport in the Netherlands.
- There was a fire onboard.
- The passengers and crew were unharmed.
A Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V (KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg was forced to divert back to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on Thursday.
This was because there was an oven fire in the kitchen of the aircraft.
KLM flight KL591 departed the airport at 11:30 and was scheduled to arrive in Johannesburg at 22:10 on Thursday.
No casualties were reported.
“Cabin crew swiftly extinguished the fire,” the airline said in a statement.
Tiana Cline, who was travelling for business, said the incident happened about two-and-a-half hours into the flight.
She told News24 she was wearing headphones and working when she noticed a crowd of around 30 people in front of her.
I took my headphones off and realised that people were crying. Women were holding onto each other and looking really nervous.
According to Cline, passengers saw smoke at the back of the plane, which prompted the cabin crew to move passengers to the middle.
There was a strange smell in the air, with one woman saying she inhaled “toxic fumes”.
“One male flight attendant came back from the [kitchen] and he looked like he had climbed down a chimney,” she said.
Cline said the crew was helpful and tried to remain calm. They gave passengers damp towels to assist with the toxic smoke, but they still looked “frazzled”.
The plane had no WiFi, so they were unable to message their families as to what was going on, she said.
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According to Cline, fuel was released from the plane to make it lighter.
The plane landed with a “thump” on its return in the afternoon, to the sound of applause, she said.
However, Cline said many passengers remained distressed, with some people in shock and a lady was seen sobbing in her seat.
All passengers were booked on a new flight with a new cabin crew. The new flight landed in Johannesburg early on Friday morning.
The incident could have been far worse , said Cline, but she was glad to be safe and at home.
She thanked the cabin crew for their clear communication and assistance.
In an email to passengers on the flight, which News24 has seen, KLM apologised to passengers and said they were entitled to compensation.
“We can imagine that you may have been worried by this situation, but your safety was never at stake. You can rest assured that our engineering and maintenance division will thoroughly check all systems to establish the exact cause and solve it before this aircraft will be deployed again,” the email read.