Plane 'fire': Heathrow back to normal

Eyewitness Steve Fryer: "Flames were coming out of it"

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Heathrow operator BAA says it is expecting business as usual on Saturday after a British Airways plane had to return to the airport to make an emergency landing on Friday morning.

Black smoke caused by a technical fault was seen coming from one of the engines of the Heathrow to Oslo flight.

A BAA spokeswoman said passengers whose flights were cancelled on Friday were being rebooked.

Saturday was looking like a normal operating day, she added.

She said there were several cancellations but that was within the scope of a normal day.

Start Quote

About eight or nine minutes into the flight there was a loud popping sound, not an explosion but definitely not usual sounds”

End Quote Passenger David Gallagher

Witnesses reported seeing flames coming from the engine after the technical fault, which happened at 08:43 BST.

Both runways were closed as passengers and crew used emergency chutes.

The southern and northern runways had reopened by 11:00 BST.

In total, 192 flights were cancelled from Heathrow Airport following the emergency landing, the majority of which were BA flights, and 22 planes were diverted to other airports.

London Ambulance Service said three people on the plane, an Airbus A319 carrying 75 passengers, were treated for minor injuries.

David Gallagher, a passenger on the plane, said: "About eight or nine minutes into the flight there was a loud popping sound, not an explosion but definitely not usual sounds.

"The captain came on very calmly, said he was aware of the situation and that everything was running normally and he was going to run some tests to see what the right course would be.

"Then another five minutes after that there was a loud sound, and this time the right engine was clearly on fire.

"I mean big flames, very visible from the rest of the cabin, and lots of black smoke."

He said a few passengers were visibly upset but the cabin and ground crews were "outstanding and completely calm".

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