Air Zimbabwe says a small fire broke out during a flight Sunday night was quickly contained and at no time were of the passengers and crew in danger. However, the incident has forced the air carrier to ground its only operating aircraft.
The cause of the fire is under investigation but Zimbabwe’s Minister of Land, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Vangelis Haritatos, who was aboard the flight told Bulwayo24.com one of the plane’s engines hit a bird which triggered the fire.
“We were all visibly shaken as blowing sounds and sparks came from the affected engine on impact, but the pilot Captain Chiwara and his crew were true professionals,” Haritatos told the publication.
Air Zimbabwe has not confirmed the bird strike. The company said in a statement that an engine malfunction sparked the fire.
Statement RE: UM462/28/04/19. pic.twitter.com/9PN9i59Qs4
— Air Zim Official (@FlyAirZimbabwe) April 28, 2019
“Air Zimbabwe wishes to inform the public that their Boeing 767-200ER servicing flight UM462 (JNB/HRE) on 28 April 2019 experienced a malfunction on one of its engines resulting in a brief tail pipe fire.
“However, the malfunction did not threaten the continuation of the flight and safety of the crew and passengers on board and it landed safely in Harare at 2035hrs,” said the company in a statement.