Plane Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Catches Fire, Air Conditioning Started Releasing Smoke Instead of Air

An Ethiopian Airlines plane made an emergency landing after an engine caught fire shortly after takeoff on Tuesday morning, according to officials.

The Boeing 767 had just departed from an airport near Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa and was on its way to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, via Bamako, Mali, when the jet's right engine burst into flames, the Associated Press reported.

According to Tidiane Tamba, a spokesperson for Blaise Diagne International Airport—located about 27 miles east of downtown Dakar—the pilots requested an emergency landing and turned back to where they had departed.

The plane landed safely and emergency crews on the ground quickly extinguished the fire. Officials said that none of the 90 passengers and crew on board had been harmed.

"Ethiopian Airlines B767-300 aircraft with registration number ET-AMG and flight number ET908 on a regular scheduled service from Diass, Senegal, en-route Addis Ababa, Ethiopia via Bamako, Mali on October 8, 2019, returned from flight to the same airport due to technical problem," a statement issued by the airline on Tuesday read.

"We apologize to our valued customers who were on-board the flight for the inconvenience. All passengers are being rebooked on alternative flights," the statement said.

The airline did not provide any further details about what may have caused the problems.

One of the passengers who was on-board the plane told Senegalese news outlet Teranga that they heard a loud noise shortly after take-off before smoke started streaming out of the air conditioning.

The passenger noted that they had flown with Ethiopian Airlines on several occasions but this was the first time they had seen a plane of such "poor quality."

"On the one hand, it is impossible to put [away] luggage and then when we tried the seat it rocked. It's really nonsense, " the passenger told Teranga.

The latest incident comes after a fatal crash earlier this year involving an Ethiopian Airlines plane which left all 157 people on-board dead.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 (Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302) was en route to Nairobi, Kenya, on March 10 when the plane crashed near the Ethiopian town of Bishoftu just six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport.

The crash was the deadliest involving an Ethiopian Airlines plane, and also the deadliest to occur in Ethiopia.

Investigators are still looking into the accident in order to determine the cause. Following the incident—and the fatal Lion Air Flight 610 crash in Indonesia—aviation authorities around the world grounded the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft over safety fears.

Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing 787
An Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner jet is pictured ahead of its take off on April 27, 2013, at Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport. JENNY VAUGHAN/AFP/Getty Images