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Smoke forces jet evacuation

Great Britain
Toronto (Ontario)
The Boeing Company

MANCHESTER, England -- More than 300 passengers were evacuated from a Pakistan International Airlines flight Tuesday after smoke was reported coming from the aircraft at Manchester airport in northern England, police said.

The Boeing 777, Flight 789 from Toronto, landed at Manchester at 9:03 a.m. for refueling on its way to Karachi.

"The aircraft landed perfectly OK, but as it was taxiing, the aircraft behind it reported smoke coming from the port undercarriage," a spokeswoman for Britain's National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said.

Some 340 passengers and 12 crew were evacuated from the aircraft using the emergency slides. Buses took the passengers to a terminal building.

Several people suffered minor injured, police said, and paramedics treated the wounded.

"The airport was shut for about 15 minutes," the NATS spokeswoman said. "One runway has reopened and the second one will be operational again when the fire services have finished at the plane."

Initially police said the plane may have caught fire, but later reported it had only overheated.

"The Fire Brigade attended but there was no evidence that a fire actually started, although it is believed overheating may have occurred in the undercarriage," a Greater Manchester Police spokesman said.

Manchester was the scene of one of the worst UK aviation disasters when a British Airtours plane caught fire in windy conditions on takeoff in August 1985 and more than 50 people died.

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