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Emergency landing at Heathrow, three injured

A British Airways jet on a flight from Beijing landed short of the runway at London Heathrow Airport on Thursday injuring three people and sparking an emergency operation, say officials.

world Updated: Jan 17, 2008 22:32 IST

A British Airways jet on a flight from Beijing landed short of the runway at London Heathrow Airport on Thursday injuring three people and sparking an emergency operation, officials said.



The incident happened shortly before Prime Minister Gordon Brown was due to take off from Heathrow for China on an official visit.



His flight was briefly held up and one runway was closed at Heathrow, which is one of the world's busiest airports. All the injuries were reported as minor.



BBC television pictures showed skidmarks on the grass short of the runway and the plane at an angle just on the end of the runway with extensive damage to its undercarriage.



The plane's engines were resting on the ground and emergency slides were deployed, while safety foam and fire engines surrounded the aircraft.



Fernando Prado, who was on the plane, told BBC television by telephone: "It happened all of a sudden exactly at the moment we touched to land."



"Everything was very well conducted by the crew, people remained seated and we evacuated the plane very quickly. There was no panic at all."



He said passengers were off the jet within two or three minutes of landing.



"A British Airways flight arriving from Beijing carried out an emergency landing at 12:42 pm," a Heathrow airport spokesman said, adding that the plane had been evacuated.



"The Heathrow southern runway has been closed, but the northern runway remains open."



BA said the Boeing 777 jet was flight BA38 from Beijing.



Three passengers were being assessed for minor injuries, said a spokeswoman for the London Ambulance Service.



She added that all passengers were believed evacuated from the plane. Six ambulances, two fast response cars and a hazardous response team were sent to the scene.



A London police spokesman said there was no suggestion that terrorism was involved.



Brown was travelling with a party of around 30 journalists, businessmen and personalities, including Virgin chief Richard Branson and Olympic athlete Dame Kelly Holmes.