One killed, dozens injured in stampede

One passenger was killed and dozens were injured Thursday in a stampede to evacuate a Saudi Air plane after a bomb threat was phoned in to Sri Lanka's only international airport, air force and hospital officials said.

At least 12 people were admitted to the nearby hospitals while dozens of others suffered minor injuries, according air force spokesman Ajantha de Silva.

The plane, carrying more than 400 passengers including 19 crew members, was taxiing on the runway when the pilot received a call from the control tower about a bomb threat, de Silva said.

The plane was brought to a halt, and the emergency doors were opened. Panic-stricken passengers poured out, he said.

Champika Wickremesinghe, medical officer at the nearby Negombo hospital, confirmed the death and said four passengers had been admitted for treatment.

A search operation was being carried out, but the airport has not been shut down. Saudi Air Flight SV 781 was destined for Riyadh and Jeddah, officials said.

Passengers who escaped injury were checked in to nearby hotels since it was not certain when the flight would be cleared for takeoff, said D. Atthanayake, airport duty manager.

He said authorities were still searching the plane for a bomb, but nothing had been found yet. They were also checking luggage and running baggage through X-ray machines in a search of explosives.

"The pilot announced that their was a bomb scare aboard a Saudi flight and all flights are delayed," said Ruth Bater, a passenger on board a flight to London.

Source: China Daily



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