Singapore’s Changi airport confirmed that the flight crew “reported smoke in the forward cargo hold and lavatory” at around 4pm, and that the aircraft was given priority to land at the airport at about 4.15pm after declaring an emergency.
“After landing, emergency slides of the aircraft were deployed for expeditious evacuation,” the airport said in a statement.
Video clips filmed by passengers have been shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, showing smoke in the plane cabin and those onboard subsequently disembarking via the inflatable emergency slides.
Travellers can be seen covering their noses and mouths with tissues in the footage taken inside the aircraft.
The runway was temporarily closed while emergency services put out a fire in the jet’s left engine, and the airport reported that all nine members of cabin crew and 146 passengers were evacuated safely.
“Nine passengers sustained minor injuries related to smoke inhalation and abrasions during the evacuation process,” said the airport’s statement. “They have since been attended to.”
The incident is being investigated by Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau and its Chinese counterpart.
Air China confirmed in a statement on Chinese social media site Weibo that smoke appeared in the cabin of the A320neo plane shortly before landing, reports CNN.
The carrier said it had determined that the fire was caused by a mechanical failure in the engine, although the investigation is ongoing.