Passengers and crew evacuated an Air China Airbus A330 at Beijing Airport last night after smoke began to pour from the aircraft.
The flight to Tokyo was in its boarding phase when a fire broke out, forcing everyone on-board to rush back to the airport terminal via the air bridge.
The fire was located in the forward cargo hold an extinguished by fire services, but not before the aircraft sustained significant damage.
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Air China confirmed a fire had broken out on-board the aircraft.
"During the passenger boarding, smoke was found in the cargo space in front of the aircraft, the crew quickly took fire-fighting measures and organised the safe evacuation of all passengers. The specific cause of the incident is under investigation."
A statement from Beijing Capital Airport claimed that there were no passengers on-board and that despite the smoke there were "no flames located on the plane."
No one was injured and passengers were transferred onto later flights.