Standard Chartered Bank managing director Mizinga Melu has relived the horrendous experience of being on Emirates Airline, Flight EK 714 which caught fire 30 minutes after take-off from the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka on Sunday night.
Melu, who is also Zambia Daily Mail board chairperson, narrated the hair-raising experience of over 135 passengers and 15 crew members.
“We could have died…Thank God we are alive,” the shaken Mrs Melu said.
According to Mrs Melu, all seemed well until 30 minutes in the air when “we heard a bang…it was so loud and suddenly the plane started shaking…Thank God we are alive…I'm traumatised.”
Melu was flying to America through Dubai.
Emirates country manager Khalid Ali Hassan said flight EK 714, which was flying at an altitude of 34,000 feet above sea level, returned safely to Lusaka after an engine failure.
The Airbus 330-200 carrying 135 passengers took off from KK International Airport around 23:00 hours.
Hassan said Emirates engineers from the Dubai head office were scheduled to arrive in the country yesterday to establish the cause of the fire.
Impeccable sources have also disclosed that the British manufacturers of the
Rolls Royce engines and other aircraft body are today expected in the country to launch comprehensive investigations.
The manufacturers are “seriously concerned” about the fault because it is the first time an airbus 330-200 has developed such a serious fault which could be a manufacturing error, the sources said.
“The aircraft landed normally, taxied to the stand and passengers disembarked. Passengers were accommodated in hotels and have now been re-booked on alternative flights with Emirates or other airlines. The safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance and will not be compromised,” Emirates spokesperson Gillian Langmead said.