ISLAMABAD, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- A Dubai-bound passenger plane of Pakistan International Airlines with at least 54 people on-board made an emergency landing after its engine caught fire shortly after it took off from Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi on Sunday night, local media and officials said.
An official from Civil Aviation Authority Abid Qaimkhawani said that the incident took place few minutes after the Airbus A310 took off from the Jinnah International Airport of Karachi at 10:20 p.m. local time.
An eyewitness told local media that an explosion was first heard at one of the engines of the plane, followed by a fire.
The huge explosion and the fire spread panic among the residents of the areas nearby the airport.
The pilot of the plane contacted the control tower for an emergency landing following the incident.
The authorities declared emergency at the airport by calling security personnel and rescue teams including medics and fire fighters at the runway.
The PIA plane with flight number PK213 remained hovering over the airport for about five minutes before it was allowed to land at the airport, said the local media.
The pilot discharged part of the plane's fuel before the emergency landing to avoid any further big fire, said local media.
According to airport authorities, all the 54 passengers remained unhurt and were taken out of the plane safely.
Engineers of the Civil Aviation Authority were called in to examine the plane while an inquiry was also launched to know the reasons of the incident.
PIA,the flagship airline in Pakistan, has been suffering for years due to the lack of funds. According to the reports, two- thirds of the planes run by the company have reportedly been in service for more than two decades and faced frequent problems.