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(LEAD) N. Korea's Air Koryo plane makes emergency landing in China due to fire

All News 17:42 July 22, 2016

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout)

SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- A jet belonging to North Korea's flag carrier Air Koryo made an emergency landing in the Chinese city of Shenyang on Friday due to fire, but all the passengers and crew were safely evacuated.

The flight from Pyongyang en route to Beijing "made a forced landing in China's northeastern city of Shenyang because the plane caught fire," said Xinhua News Agency, citing a passenger on board.

Referring to flight-tracking websites, Japan's Kyodo News later added that the Tupolev Tu-204 plane "diverted shortly after crossing over the border between the two countries at around 8:25 a.m. (Chinese time)" before landing at Shenyang's Taoxian International Airport at 8:50 a.m.

The airplane was carrying 60 passengers and 15 crewmembers when smoke from an unidentified compartment resulted in the emergency landing, according to Xinhua. It said no one was hurt in the process.

Separately, informed sources said the aircraft's crew declined the assistance of airport authorities who tried to help with the aftermath of the emergency landing, insisting they could handle the matter on their own.

Oxygen masks were all deployed and the airplane's interior was sooty and smoky, the sources said, citing authorities who approached the aircraft.

Currently, the plane remains in a corner of the airport's apron undergoing repairs by the Air Koryo crew.

The air carrier is North Korea's exclusive flight service provider. It operates regular flights to Beijing and Shenyang in China and to Vladivostok, Russia.

Britain-based air service reviewer Air Trax rated Air Koryo as the world's worst-serviced air carrier earlier in the year in its rating of 600 global airlines.


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