Three hundred and one people died on Tuesday night (19 August) when fire engulfed a Saudi Arabian airliner at Riyadh airport, in the world's worst airline disaster this year.
GV PAN NIGHT SCENE Firemen training hoses on burning fuselage
GV PAN Airport at night with emergency vehicles on tarmac TO Front of aircraft under firemen's hoses
GV Smoke and spray from hoses over fuselage, lights of emergency vehicles (2 shots)
GV DAY SCENES Of burnt-out plane on tarmac
SV PAN Wreckage
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Background: Three hundred and one people died on Tuesday night (19 August) when fire engulfed a Saudi Arabian airliner at Riyadh airport, in the world's worst airline disaster this year. Saudi officials said the passengers on the flight to Jeddah were mainly Saudis, Iranians and Pakistanis, including between forty and forty-five women and thirty-five children. Two small gas cooking stoves and a used fire extinguisher were later found lying together in the burnt-out fuselage of the airliner. Investigations into the causes will take some time, the Saudi Arabian Aviation Directorate said.
SYNOPSIS: Everyone on board died when fire swept through the Lockheed Tristar after an emergency landing, shortly after take-off from Riyadh airport.
Fire engines and specially equipped helicopters fought the blaze but could not control it, and rescuers were unable to open the doors to free the trapped passengers. Tape recordings of the pilot's last contact with the ground showed he had radioed twice soon after take-off to say fire had broken out in the passenger cabin. Almost a quarter of those on board had come from Karachi where the flight started, and many pilgrims from Iran boarded at Riyadh. Officials said that regrettably pilgrims to Mecca sometimes smuggle gas stoves and similar equipment onto aircraft. One of the two gas stoves was found in the middle of the cabin. The second, with the used extinguisher, was in the rear where the fire had concentrated.