BEIJING: A fire reportedly forced a flight from North Korean flag-carrier Air Koryo to land in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang on Friday. The Beijing-bound Flight JS-151 from Pyongyang had made a safe emergency landing after smoke appeared in the cabin, but "nothing abnormal" had been found with the aircraft, Shenyang airport said in a short statement on its microblog, adding that an investigation was underway.
In a brief despatch from Pyongyang, Xinhua said the scheduled flight from the North Korean capital to Beijing was forced to divert and land in Shenyang “because the plane caught fire.” The report, which was sourced to a passenger on board who had spoken to the news service, gave no further details and offered no information regarding damage to the plane or possible passenger injuries. Although Air Koryo regularly occupies bottom spot in the Skytrax star rating system for commercial airlines, it has a decent safety record with just one fatal accident in more than 30 years.
However, critics point out that the record is built on an extremely limited service which currently comprises regular flights to just three destinations in China, and Vladivostok in Russia. The Pyongyang-Beijing service uses a Russian Tupolev Tu-204 – a twin-engine medium-range jet airliner that carries about 140 passengers.