Boeing Aircraft with 85 Passengers Catches Fire, Skids Off Runway in Senegal; 10 Injured

A Boeing 737, carrying 85 individuals, experienced a fire and veered off a runway at Senegal’s primary airport, resulting in injuries to 10 people, including the pilot, according to the country’s transportation minister on Thursday. Passengers were evacuated amidst the blaze, with some recounting scenes of chaos and fear.

The Air Sénégal flight, operated by TransAir, was en route to Bamako, Mali, late Wednesday with 79 passengers, two pilots, and four cabin crew when the incident occurred at Blaise Diagne International Airport, approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Dakar. The cause of the fire and the Boeing 737-300 runway departure remained unclear.

Injured individuals were receiving medical attention, while others were accommodated at a nearby hotel for rest, as stated by the minister. Eyewitnesses described a harrowing scene of sliding down emergency chutes amidst flames engulfing one side of the aircraft. Ibrahim Diallo, a passenger, recounted a failed attempt at takeoff earlier that evening, followed by smoke emanating from one of the wings during the second attempt. Boeing deferred inquiries to the airlines, emphasizing their commitment to support customers.

Air Sénégal announced flight rescheduling between Dakar and Bamako but did not respond to requests for further comment. This incident marked the third involving a Boeing aircraft that week. Meanwhile, concerns about Boeing’s safety standards and manufacturing practices have intensified, particularly following the recent congressional testimony of a whistleblower alleging manufacturing shortcuts. The Aviation Safety Network identified the aircraft involved in Senegal’s crash as a Boeing 737-38J, delivered in the 1990s. The Flight Safety Foundation, a nonprofit organization promoting safe air travel, actively monitors the situation.

About Geraldine Boechat 2711 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia