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Plane fire probe begins

PUBLISHED: 09:30 28 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 March 2010

AN investigation was under way today after an engine on a Ryanair passenger plane caught fire shortly after landing at Stansted.

More than 100 passengers escaped the jet on inflatable slides after the incident at the Essex airport yesterday.

AN investigation was under way today after an engine on a Ryanair passenger plane caught fire shortly after landing at Stansted.

More than 100 passengers escaped the jet on inflatable slides after the incident at the Essex airport yesterday.

Airport firefighters extinguished the blaze before it spread and two people needed hospital treatment for minor injuries, a Ryanair spokeswoman said.

The fire, in engine two, happened after the Boeing 737-800 was delayed for more than an hour in Dublin when a plastic bag was caught in the other engine, she added.

Passenger Lucinda Conyngham, 33, a film producer from Dundalk who now lives in Barcelona, said last night: "I am very relieved to be down on the ground and just glad that the plane didn't catch fire while we were in the air.

"Just as we were stopping people started saying that there was a fire and that the engine was on fire.

"I would say within about five minutes the fire engines were there and then almost straight away there was an announcement for us to evacuate the plane and we got off.

"Some people were panicking and some people were screaming but generally it was pretty calm. The staff on the plane were very good."

Martin Murray, 26, a charity worker from Monaghan, said: "You were just thinking that you had to get out and worrying about what might happen if the plane caught fire or the cabin filled with smoke.

"As I came out of the plane I could see the fire. There was smoke coming out and we could see the fire engines.'

A spokesman for Stansted said two passengers suffered slight injuries as they were sliding down the safety chutes.

"I believe one twisted an ankle and another suffered some sort of scratch to a leg.

"The plane called for two ambulances and both people were taken to the Princess Alexandra hospital in Harlow.'

A Ryanair statement said: "After landing at Stansted airport, the crew on Ryanair FR296 from Dublin were notified by the Air Traffic Control tower that they could see smoke coming from one of the two engines.

"The crew instituted normal safety procedure in such circumstances, which involved shutting down the engine, bringing the aircraft to a complete stop and deploying the slides to facilitate a passenger evacuation.

"The aircraft has been removed from service for a full inspection by Ryanair engineers and relevant authorities.'

The spokeswoman said the plane was delayed for more than an hour in Dublin before take-off while a plastic bag was removed from engine one.

That engine was not the one at the centre of the fire scare, she stressed.

Ryanair said the Boeing 737-800 jet was carrying 117 passengers and a crew of six.

Many of the passengers were last night put up in hotels in Cambridge before flying on to further destinations today.

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