A Qatar Airways flight from New Delhi to Doha made an emergency landing early Monday in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi after it developed a ''technical fault'', according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) here.
Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman Saifur Rehman confirmed that Qatar Airways' flight QR-579 had landed safely at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.
Within hours, all 283 passengers were flown out to Doha on an alternative aircraft sent by the airline.
Rehman said the Doha-bound flight of Qatar Airways QR579 had taken off from New Delhi at 3.20 (India time) and made an emergency landing in Karachi around 5.30 in the morning.
''The captain declared an emergency after detection of smoke in the aircraft’s cargo hold,'' Rehman said.
He said the aircraft crew and passengers all disembarked and were taken to the airport lounge and provided emergency services at the Jinnah International Airport and left safely on the relief flight.
''The pilot requested to make an emergency landing and the control tower and CAA personnel responded immediately given the nature of the problem,” he said.
As the runway was cleared for emergency landing, a flight from Doha, bound to land in Karachi, had to continue circling overhead for a while. Several other flights, including Air Lanka's UL-183, flying to Karachi, had to wait before landing due to the emergency situation, officials said.
Earlier, the airline said that Delhi-Doha passenger plane landed safely in Karachi where it was met by emergency services, and passengers disembarked it in an orderly manner using stairs.
The incident is currently under investigation and a relief flight is being arranged to transport passengers onwards to Doha, the airline said in a statement.
''We apologise for the inconvenience to our passengers who will be assisted with their onward travel plans,'' it said.
Qatar Airways said its flight ''QR579 from Delhi to Doha on 21 March diverted to Karachi having declared an emergency due to the indication of smoke detected in the cargo hold''.
''All flight operations at the Jinnah International Airport are now normal. The aircraft which developed a technical problem is now being inspected at the airport,” the CAA spokesman said.
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