x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

"There was a man standing, surrounded by fire'

An eye witness account of the Kish Air flight 7170 crash.

The pilot on Kish Air Flight 7170 had requested an emergency landing moments before his airplane crashed just more than three kilometres from Sharjah International Airport. The roar of the engines alerted nearby residents to the approaching calamity. At the scene, witnesses described the sudden appearance of the Fokker-50 twin turboprop, which was in a nosedive. In the final seconds, the pilot avoided houses by sharply banking.

"One wing was on fire," said Mohammed Ibrahim, a resident. "At the last moment it turned." The airplane hit the ground nose-first and split in two, sprawling wreckage across the residential area. Twisted metal, burnt seats and engine parts were mixed with charred suitcases, but much of the rear of the aircraft was intact. Of the 46 people on board, just three survived, including one man who was spotted by Mr Ibrahim.

"When I arrived, there was a man standing, surrounded by fire," Mr Ibrahim said. "He was very shocked and we got him to sit down." As emergency services cleared debris, people watched from nearby rooftops. Victims of the crash, which was one of the worst in the nation's history, were from 12 countries and included an Emirati, many Indians and Iranians, as well as three Egyptians. @Email:crispin.thorold@admedia.ae

Crispin Thorold is the presenter of Inside The National on Abu Dhabi Al-Emarat. He covered the Sharjah crash for the BBC.