Dramatic Evacuation of Air Dolomiti ATR 72 Captured on Video

 - August 29, 2008, 9:46 AM

An amateur video broadcast by the BBC shows a fierce fire burning near the main landing gear of an Air Dolomiti ATR 72 at Munich Airport in Germany on Sunday, August 24, as the passen-gers and crew evacuate the aircraft. The pilots had stopped the air-plane while taxiing for takeoff because they noticed smoke and possibly fire coming from the area of the landing gear.

According to a Munich Airport spokesman, the fire brigade was on the spot within 150 seconds, but did not begin to extinguish the fire until all onboard had disembarked, so as not to endanger people with their high-pressure equipment. Some people on the air-plane used the aft exit and its integrated stair while others exited through the front door (which was not fitted with an integrated stair), jumping down on the tarmac from a height of about three feet.

As soon as all 59 passengers and four crewmembers safely ex-ited the airplane, the firemen put out the fire within a few seconds, as the soundless video shows. Neither the engine nor the fuel tanks of the high-wing aircraft were apparently involved in the fire. The aircraft was later towed to a maintenance facility, while the passen-gers were rebooked on a later flight.

Germany’s air accident investigation bureau is investigating the incident.