Thai Airways jet evacuated after hard landing in Australia

More than 250 passengers were evacuated from a Thai Airways jet after a tire blew, sparking several small fires, during a hard landing Wednesday at southern Australia's Melbourne airport, an official told. No injuries were reported.

The Airbus A340 from Bangkok "landed heavily" on the runway, blowing out a tire, damaging the plane's undercarriage and sparking the fire, according to Ben Mitchell, a spokesman for Airservices Australia, the government's air traffic control authority.

None of the 253 passengers on board was injured, the Melbourne Airport confirmed.

The plane was smoking as it rolled down the runway, prompting air traffic controllers to activate a "crash alarm."

Fire and emergency services crews approached the plane within 90 seconds of landing and extinguished the small fires. All passengers were evacuated on an external stairway and taken to the terminal by bus.

A spokesman for Australia's Transport Safety Bureau said the Thai Airways jet had landed in heavy crosswinds and that the incident was being investigated.

Due to the incident Melbourne Airport remained shut down for almost two hours and many flights were delayed, the AP reports.


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