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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Aircraft catches fire after crash with another plane at Toronto airport

It was the second such incident at the airport in five months

Emergency services arrive at a site where two planes collided at Toronto's Pearson Airport, Canada, January 5, 2018 in this still image taken from social media video. John-Ross Parks / via Reuters
Emergency services arrive at a site where two planes collided at Toronto's Pearson Airport, Canada, January 5, 2018 in this still image taken from social media video. John-Ross Parks / via Reuters

A jet hit another on the ground at a Toronto airport on Friday, setting the tail of one aircraft alight and prompting passengers to leave the other via an emergency slide.

Both WestJet and Sunwing confirmed that their planes were involved in the accident at 6.19pm local time at Toronto Pearson International, the second such incident at the airport in five months.

Several hours after the accident the airport said all WestJet passengers were safely at the terminal, adding that one of the airport's fire and emergency service personnel was undergoing hospital treatment.

"At this time, airport operations have not been significantly affected by the incident but continue to be challenged by the extreme cold weather conditions," the airport's statement said.

The panicked shouts and cries of those aboard were audible on one Instagram video shot by a passenger inside the WestJet plane.

The clip showed flames erupting from the Sunwing aircraft, sending black smoke spewing into the frigid night air.

An explosion is seen through a window of a plane that has collided with another plane at Toronto's Pearson Airport, Canada, January 5, 2018 in this still image taken from social media video. @STEPHEN_BELFORD/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
An explosion is seen through a window of a plane that has collided with another plane at Toronto's Pearson Airport, Canada. @STEPHEN_BELFORD / via Reuters

"Our plane was crashed into by another plane right after the pilot announced they were 'low on staff,'" wrote the user who posted the video, under the handle stephen_belford.

WestJet said on Twitter that the Boeing 737-800 plane had 168 guests and six crew onboard, and had arrived in Toronto via Cancun.

Waiting to proceed to the gate, the aircraft "was struck by a Sunwing aircraft pushing back from the gate", WestJet said.

"Due to the position of the aircraft on the laneway, WestJet guests required evacuation via emergency slide. Emergency crews were on hand and responded immediately," the airline tweeted.

The company did not specify if the incident resulted in injuries but said "all 168 guests and six crew are accounted for".

"We can confirm guests are safely in the terminal and they are in the process of clearing Customs."

An explosion is seen through a window of a plane that has collided with another plane at Toronto's Pearson Airport, Canada, January 5, 2018 in this still image taken from social media video. @STEPHEN_BELFORD/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
An explosion is seen through a window of a plane that has collided with another plane at Toronto's Pearson Airport, Canada, January 5, 2018 in this still image taken from social media video. @STEPHEN_BELFORD / via Reuters

Sunwing said: "There were no Sunwing crew or passengers onboard at the time of the incident," adding that its aircraft had been "under tow by our ground handling service provider" before the accident.

Toronto's weather was clear on Friday night as the temperature plunged close to minus 20 degrees Celsius.

The Transport Safety Board had arrived at the scene and launched an investigation.

The crash is the second such incident at Toronto Pearson in recent months.

In early August, a Canadian and a Polish passenger jet clipped wings on the ground at the airport, causing "serious" damage but no casualties.

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