An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 on route from Dakar, Senegal to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia returned to Dakar airport shortly after takeoff after its pilot discovered that one of the plane's engines had caught fire, Dakar Airport spokesperson Tidiane Tamba has told AFP.
Thanks to the timely mid-air manoeuvre, none of the estimated 90 passengers or crew onboard were harmed.
Ethiopian Airlines later confirmed via Twitter that one of its aircraft had returned to the Senegal airport "due to a technical problem." The airline stressed that everyone onboard was safe.
Unverified photos reportedly taken at the Dakar airport showed the airliner's wing being doused by firefighting foam as the plane stood on the runway.
#Afrique Un #Boeing 767 d'#EthiopianAirlines a fait un atterrissage d'urgence ce matin peu après son décollage de l'aéroport de #Dakar au Sénégal. En cause, un début d'incendie sur un de ses moteurs. Il devait se rendre à Addis Abeba avec une escale à #Bamako. 📷 Dakaractu pic.twitter.com/hszEt4hZe4— Alexandre L_B (@alex_le_bars) October 8, 2019
Tweet reads: "#Africa: An #EthiopianAirlines #Boeing 767 made an emergency landing this morning shortly after taking off from the #Dakar airport in Senegal. The incident was caused by a a fire starting on one of its engines. The plane was set to head to Addis Ababa with a stop-over in #Bamako [Mali]."
The fire was thought to have started on the plane's right engine five minutes after takeoff.
Video footage soon appeared online showing airport firefighters arriving to fight the blaze.
Ethiopian Airlines grounded its fleet of Boeing 737 Max aircraft in March after one of the jetliners taking off from Addis Ababa airport crashed, killing all 157 passengers and crew onboard. The incident was the second deadly crash involving a Boeing 737 Max since the October 2018 crash of a Boeing 737 Max operated by Lion Air in Indonesia, which killed all 189 people onboard. The incidents prompted airlines around the world to ground their fleets of 737s.