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Airline speaks after engine fire

The Vice President of Pacific Coastal Airlines is refuting some media reports indicating an engine on one of his planes caught fire Tuesday.

Spencer Smith tells Castanet news the incident in Trail was an exhaust flame-out and not a fire.

The twin engine Saab 340 arrived in Trail shortly before 4 p.m. on a flight from Vancouver.

Smith says, contrary to earlier reports, there was nothing wrong with the plane prior to it touching down in Trail.

"We shut down the engines and everything was fine," says Smith.

"After the engine shut down on the starboard side, flame shot out of the exhaust. At that point the flight crew was already out of the cockpit greeting passengers as they deplaned."

Smith says a passenger noticed the flame and yelled fire.

"The captain went back up to the cockpit and deployed the fire suppression system."

At no time, according to Smith, did any of the cockpit warning systems indicate there was a fire.

"It sounds like an exhaust flame out which is a build up of excess fuel in the shut down that eventually ignited and caused flames to burst out of the exhaust pipe."

Smith says there were reports the engine was engulfed in flames. Reports the plane was on fire.

"That was never the case.," says Smith.

As for pictures showing what appears to be smoke coming from the engine, Smith says that was also not the case.

"That was not smoke, it was a plume of Halon being deployed from the fire suppression system."

He says flame outs like this do happen from time to time.

"It's not uncommon. I've never seen it on a shut down but it does happen on start up on occasion."

Doug Stoddart, a passenger aboard the Pacific Coastal Airlines flight, said the crew did not seem to be aware there was a problem after the plane taxied to the terminal.

"I was right at the front of the plane and I mentioned to the pilot that there is a fire on the right engine and just by the look on their face that told me that they were not aware of it," Stoddart told CBC News. "So I knew we all had to get off the plane in a hurry and I just followed instructions."

Stoddart said he's concerned about what could have happened.

"What if the clouds had not allowed us to land in Trail. Would we have had a problem later on?"

The plane remains in Trail where maintenance crews are inspecting it to determine what the next course of action will be.

Smith says the flight crew did a visual inspection of the engine Tuesday night and there were no indications of anything being burnt inside.

The plane was scheduled to fly back to Vancouver with a load of passengers waiting in the Trail airport, however, Smith says a replacement plane was unable to get to Trail.

Those passengers were put up Tuesday night and looked after Wednesday.



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