AT least two Australians were on an Emirates plane which caught fire at Dubai International Airport after it crash-landed with 300 people on board.

Footage taken by a British passenger in another plane showed the aircraft skidding as it hit the tarmac while resting on its wing, with smoke pouring out of one side.


Photos showed the smoke thickening after the plane came to a stop, rising into the air in a black plume before a fireball exploded from near the right engine on Wednesday afternoon.

Krishna Bhagavathula, who was at the airport, wrote on Twitter that the flames had burned through the top of the aircraft before they could be brought under control.

While all passengers and crew survived, Emirates chairman said a firefighter had died responding to the emergency, reported.

A spokesperson for the Dubai media office, which represents the Emirate's government, said flight EK521 was arriving on schedule from India when it "crash-landed".

"Authorities at Dubai International Airport are dealing with the incident at the moment to ensure safety of all."

According to air traffic control recordings obtained by the Aviation Herald, controllers at Dubai had reminded the crew of the Boeing 777 to lower the landing gear as it approached.

Shortly afterwards, the crew reportedly announced they were aborting the landing to "go around" - a routine procedure for which pilots are well trained - but the aircraft came to rest near the end of the runway instead.

Iype Vallikadan, a reporter from India's Mathrubhumi News, was told by passengers that the pilot spoke to them as the plane neared Dubai to say there was a problem with the landing gear and that he would make an emergency landing.

The crew then conducted a full evacuation using the plane's emergency exits using slides.

There was no immediate confirmation on whether the landing gear was extended when the aircraft touched the ground.

Data recorded by the Flightradar24 website showed the flight appeared normal until the landing, cruising at 36,000ft before beginning a gradual descent.

A spokesperson for Emirates airlines said the aircraft was involved in an "operational incident" during its scheduled landing from Trivandrum International Airport at about 12.45pm local time (9.45am BST).

"We can confirm that there are no fatalities, all passengers and crew are accounted for and safe," a statement said.

"There were 282 passengers and 18 crew on board. The main priority remains with those involved and offering support to concerned family and friends.

"We are extending full co-operation to authorities and emergency services managing the situation."

The vast majority of those on board were Indian, followed by 24 British citizens, 11 from the UAE and others from a total of 20 nations including the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

All departures and arrivals were temporarily suspended at Dubai International Airport and Emirates said it expected a network-wide delay lasting eight hours.

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