Emergency chutes are seen deployed from
the British Airways Boeing 777 plane, seen in foreground, flying from
China that landed short of the runway at London's Heathrow Airport,
Thursday Jan. 17, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo) Photo Gallery>>>
LONDON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- A British Airways (BA)
passenger jet landed short of the runway at Heathrow Airport Thursday.
The emergency escape chutes were used and passengers
were led to safety, Sky News reported.
Three passengers are being treated for minor
injuries, the report said.
Heathrow Airport's southern runway has been closed to
incoming and outgoing flights.
The plane was BA flight 38 from Beijing to London,
the report said.
Six ambulances were dispatched and emergency services
remain at the scene.
"We can confirm that BA Flight 38 arriving from
Beijing made an emergency landing at 12:42 p.m. (1242 GMT). Passengers have been
evacuated," said an airport spokeswoman.
"The south runway is closed but the north runway is
still operating," she added.
The plane landed just meters from a busy perimeter
road, and the impact wrecked its undercarriage and caused extensive damage to
both wings, Britain's Press Association reported.
"The plane's wheels collapsed, doors were flown open.
It crashed into the runway, debris was flying everywhere, there was an enormous
bang and it skidded sideways," eyewitness John Rowland was quoted by the BBC as
"There were some sparks as the undercarriage or the
bottom of the plane actually touched the runway -- certainly a huge amount of
smoke coming up from that. And then the plane did come to a halt reasonably
quickly," said Nick Gray, another eyewitness.
"It was incredibly efficient the speed that people
got off the aircraft. I could see that the shoots were deployed very quickly and
people were coming down on that. Then people were sent off to the nearby
buildings which are probably only about 200 yards away from the plane," he said.
A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard police headquarters
said there was no suggestion that terrorism was involved in the incident.
"There is nothing to suggest it is terror-related,"
The incident happened as British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown was due to leave Heathrow for visit in China and India.
His flight, which was delayed a short while because of the incident, has left the Heathrow airport for China.