Saudi Arabia World Cup 2018 team plane catches fire in mid air after 'bird flies into engine'

- A Monitor Report 19 Jun, 2018  |    -      +
Moscow : Saudi Arabia's official team plane caught fire in mid air as they travelled to their World Cup match on Wednesday.

The Green Falcons, who fell to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of hosts Russia on the opening day of the World Cup, were on their way to Rostov in preparation for their second Group A match when the incident happened.

Flames were seen from the engine as the Russian Airlines Airbus as they flew in to Volgograd. Saudi Arabia face Uruguay on Wednesday at the Rostov Arena.

An official statement read from the football association read: "The Saudi Football Federation wishes to reassure everyone about the safety of all members of the mission of the national team after a minor technical malfunction in an engine.

Videos uploaded to twitter show fire shooting from the engines underneath the wings.

The plane was a Rossiya Russian Airlines Airbus A319-100 and no one was hurt in what must have been a terrifying incident.

A statement from Rossiya claimed that the preliminary cause of malfunction was a bird flying into the engine - but both were working on landing at Rostov-on-Don.

"As flight FV1007 from St Petersburg to Rostov-on-Don began to land, the (Airbus) A319 plane suffered a technical fault with one of its engines, with a bird getting caught seen as the preliminary cause," a Rossiya airlines spokesman said.

The players were then filmed calmly leaving the stricken jet, which is 12 years old, before travelling to their hotel in the south of the country after leaving .

The aircraft was initially purchased as new by American airline Frontier Airlines, before being bought by Russian-based Donavia in July 2013.

Airline Rossiya have leased the plane since April 2016.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation then pointed out that the airplane which developed the technical fault was not linked to Saudi Arabian airlines and was provided by the IATA organizational committee for teams participating in the World Cup.

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