A Qatar Airways flight from Turkey to Doha was forced to return to Istanbul’s Ataturk airport earlier this afternoon following reports that one of its engines appeared to be on fire.
According to a statement from the airline, the plane – an eight-year-old Airbus A330-300 – had to carry out an emergency landing due to a bird strike.
“The safety of our passengers is our most important responsibility. The pilot followed all safety procedures” the airline added.
Flight tracking website Flight Radar24 shows that the aircraft took off from Istanbul at around 1:40pm, and performed a circuit before landing back at the same airport shortly afterwards.
The aircraft was carrying 298 passengers and 14 crew members.
Reports of an engine fire
One of the aircraft’s engines caught fire shortly after take-off, Reuters reported, citing CNN Turk.
Some unverified videos have been circulating on social media showing a Qatar Airways plane with what appears to be a small fire in its left engine.
However, the airline said it was unable to confirm reports of the fire.
Its spokesperson told Doha News that there have been no reports of injuries to passengers or crew on board.
“All 298 passengers and 14 crew disembarked normally and the airline is sending a replacement aircraft to Istanbul. Customer needs, including onward travel, will be taken care of by the airline” they added.
The flight had been due to land in Doha at 5:35pm.