Emirates Flight 521

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Emirates Flight 521
Boeing 777-31H, Emirates AN1633283.jpg
A6-EMW, the aircraft involved in the accident, pictured in 2009
Date3 August 2016 (2016-08-03)
SummaryCrashed during go-around, under Investigation
SiteDubai International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
25°15′10″N 55°21′52″E / 25.25278°N 55.36444°E / 25.25278; 55.36444Coordinates: 25°15′10″N 55°21′52″E / 25.25278°N 55.36444°E / 25.25278; 55.36444
Total fatalities1
Total injuries32
Aircraft typeBoeing 777-300
IATA flight No.EK521
ICAO flight No.UAE521
Call signEMIRATES 521
Flight originTrivandrum International Airport, Thiruvananthapuram, India
DestinationDubai International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Survivors300 (all)
Ground casualties
Ground fatalities1
Ground injuries8

Emirates Flight 521 is a scheduled international passenger flight from Thiruvananthapuram, India, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates,[1] operated by Emirates using a Boeing 777-300.[2] On 3 August 2016, the aircraft carrying 282 passengers and 18 crew[3][4] crashed while landing at Dubai International Airport.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

All 300 people on board survived the accident; 24 were injured, one seriously.[7] An airport firefighter died during the rescue operation and another eight were injured.[7][10] The accident was the first hull loss of an aircraft operated by Emirates.[11]


The aircraft involved was a Boeing 777-300[note 1] with the registration A6-EMW, serial number 32700, and line number 434. It was equipped with two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines and was thirteen years old, having made its first flight on 7 March 2003.[12] It was delivered new to Emirates on 28 March 2003, and had logged more than 58,000 flight hours in 13,000 cycles before the crash.[13]


On 3 August 2016, Flight EK521 took off from Trivandrum International Airport (TRV) at 10:34 IST (05:04 UTC), 29 minutes after its scheduled departure time. It was scheduled to land at Dubai International Airport (DXB) at 12:24 GST (08:24 UTC).[14]

The approach and landing were normal from the air traffic control (ATC) point of view, with no emergency declared according to ATC recordings at the time.[15][16] The crew reported that they were going around, after which the tower instructed them to climb to 4,000 feet, which was acknowledged by the crew. Shortly after, the tower instructed the next flight to go around and alerted emergency services.[15] Wind shear and an ambient temperature of 48 °C (118 °F) were reported.[12]

The accident occurred at 12:37 Gulf Standard Time (08:37 UTC). According to the Preliminary Accident Report,[7] significant wind shear was affecting the aircraft's airspeed through late final approach, and the aircraft touched down onto the 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) long runway 12L at a point approximately 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) beyond the upwind threshold, at a speed of 162 kts. Two seconds later, the cockpit RAAS issued a "LONG LANDING" [note 2][17] warning and the crew initiated a go-around. Six seconds after main-wheel touchdown, and with the nose-wheel still off the runway, the aircraft became airborne again after rotating to climb attitude. Four seconds later the flap setting was reduced to 20°, followed by the undercarriage being selected to retract. Engine throttle settings appear to have remained unchanged during this period due to the flight crew not understanding the auto throttle system and a faulty reliance on automation. The aircraft attained a maximum height above the runway of 85′ with its indicated airspeed decreasing, before commencing to settle back towards the ground. Twelve seconds after becoming airborne the throttles were advanced to maximum, however the aircraft continued to sink and it impacted the runway with its undercarriage in a partially retracted state three seconds later.

The aircraft first impacted with the underside of its rear fuselage and skidded about 800 metres (2,600 ft) along runway 12L with its landing gear partly retracted as it rotated to the right about 120 degrees.[7] As the aircraft skidded down the runway, the number 2 (starboard) engine detached and slid along the wing's leading edge toward the wingtip.[7] Firefighting appliances were at the aircraft less than 90 seconds after it came to rest (which was 33 seconds after the initial impact) and started to fight fires at several locations as all 300 passengers and crew were safely evacuated.[7][18] Video from inside the aircraft, taken on passengers' cellphone cameras, showed the passengers failing to evacuate, instead giving priority to carry-on luggage, resulting in an overly long evacuation and heavy criticism.[19] Nine minutes after the aircraft came to a stop, with only the aircraft captain and the senior flight attendant still on board (checking for any remaining passengers), there was a large explosion. The explosion, of the aircraft's center fuel tank, resulted in the death of a firefighter, a Ras al-Khaimah resident named Jasim Issa Mohammed Hasan.[7][20] Twenty-four of the aircraft's occupants were injured – including the captain and the senior flight attendant, who evacuated after the explosion; the senior flight attendant was the only person among the passengers and crew seriously injured, suffering from smoke inhalation.[7][15] In addition, eight firefighters and a policeman were injured, several of the firefighters suffering from heat stroke.[7][21] The explosion resulted in the fire spreading to the aircraft's cabin; it took firefighters 16 hours to bring the fire under control.[7] The airport was closed during and following the accident, which resulted in many diverted flights.[22]

Passengers and crew[edit]

The aircraft carried 282 passengers and 18 crew members.[23] The captain was a UAE national and the first officer was Australian.[24]


The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is responsible for investigating civil aviation accidents in the United Arab Emirates. It has opened an investigation into the accident.[25] According to the GCAA, the investigation will take three to five months to complete and will be assisted by Emirates; the aircraft's manufacturer Boeing; and Rolls-Royce, the manufacturer of the 777's engines.[26] In addition, the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent a five-person team to join the other investigators.[27] The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were removed from the aircraft the day after the accident.[21][28] A preliminary report into the accident was published in September 2016.[7] On 20 November 2016, GCAA said that the full investigation could continue until 2019.[29] The GCAA issued an interim statement in August 2017.[30]A preliminary report found that the pilot attempted to take off again after briefly touching down, and that the plane ultimately hit the runway as its landing gear was still retracting.


Following the accident, the airport was closed for 5½ hours; many flights were diverted to nearby airports such as Abu Dhabi International Airport, Sharjah International Airport, and Al Maktoum International Airport.[31] The closure led Emirates and Flydubai to cancel several of their flights,[32][33] and also affected 23,000 passengers at the airport.[34] Dubai International Airport resumed operations at 18:30 local time,[35][36] at restricted capacity, utilizing only one runway and maximizing the use of the runways at Al Maktoum International Airport.[34] Arriving aircraft were prioritized over departure flights.[37] The damaged runway was repaired and reopened at 17:45 local time on 4 August,[37][38][39] and the airport resumed normal operations on 6 August, 72 hours after the accident.[40][41]

On 11 August, eight days after the crash, Emirates provided US$7000 in compensation for each of the 282 passengers.[42]


  1. ^ The aircraft was a Boeing 777-300 model; Boeing assigns a unique code for each company that buys one of its aircraft, which is applied as an infix to the model number at the time the aircraft is built, hence "777-31H".
  2. ^ The Runway Awareness Advisory System's "LONG LANDING" monitor warning indicates when an aircraft has not touched down within a pre-configured distance from the runway threshold, which may result in the remaining runway length being insufficient to bring the aircraft to a complete stop.


  1. ^ @Emirates (3 August 2016). "Emirates airline on Twitter" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Playback of Emirates flight EK521". Flightradar24. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  3. ^ Mitchell, Georgina (3 August 2016). "Smoke pours from plane after 'crash-landing' incident at Dubai Airport". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Emirates flight EK521 from Thiruvananthapuram crash lands at Dubai airport – Firstpost". 3 August 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  5. ^ @Emirates (3 August 2016). "Emirates airline on Twitter" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^ "Emirates plane crash-lands at Dubai airport". BBC News. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "AAIS Case No: AIFN/0008/2016 Runway Impact During Attempted Go-Around" (PDF). GCAA. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  8. ^ Dean, Jon (3 August 2016). "Emirates plane crash fire: Live updates after jet crash-lands at Dubai International Airport with 24 Brits on board". Mirror. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  9. ^ Burke, Louise (3 August 2016). "Dubai plane crash: Emirates expects network-wide delay after flight EK521 bursts into flames on crash-landing". Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Firefighter dies responding to Emirates plane fire at Dubai airport". The National (UAE). 3 August 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Fire guts Emirates jet after hard landing; one firefighter dies". Reuters. 3 August 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  12. ^ a b "A6-EMW Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  13. ^ Preliminary report, p.4
  14. ^ "Emirates 521 – 03-Aug-2016/ TRV – DXB". FlightAware. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  15. ^ a b c "Accident: Emirates B773 at Dubai on Aug 3rd 2016, touched down during go-around without gear, aircraft on fire". Aviation Herald. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  16. ^ "OMDB Towers, 3 Aug 2016 0830-0900Z". LiveATC.net. Retrieved 3 August 2016.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Honeywell International Inc. "Product Description - SmartRunway/SmartLanding" (PDF). www51.honeywell.com. Honeywell. p. 9. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  18. ^ @DXBMediaOffice (3 August 2016). "All reported safe" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^ "Scenes from inside flight Emirates EK 521".
  20. ^ "Alive! 300 passengers – including 24 Brits – escape when their Emirates jet crash-lands at Dubai airport after catching fire in the air and EXPLODING on landing". Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  21. ^ a b Alexander Cornwell (4 August 2016). "Investigators recover EK521 recorders". Gulf News. Al Nasir Publishing. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  22. ^ @FlightRadar24 (3 August 2016). "Dubai International Airport remains closed for takeoffs & landings after earlier #EK521 accident" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "Emirates airliner with 300 on board crash-lands in Dubai ." Associated Press at the Los Angeles Times. 3 August 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Australian co-pilot Jeremy Webb escaped Emirates plane crash in Dubai". News.com.au. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  25. ^ General Civil Aviation Authority [@gcaa_uae] (3 August 2016). "(untitled)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Alexander Cornwell (4 August 2016). "Exclusive: Emirates EK521 investigation to take 3 to 5 months". Gulf News. Al Nasir Publishing. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  27. ^ "Emirates jet tried to abort landing shortly before Dubai crash (VIDEO)". Malay Mail Online. Dubai. 6 August 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  28. ^ Kelly Clarke (4 August 2016). "DXB facilities now 'fully operational', black box recovered". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Investigation into Emirates crash landing 'could take up to three years' | The National". Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  30. ^ "First Interim Statement: AAIS Case №. AIFN/0008/2016" (PDF). Abu Dhabi: General Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  31. ^ "Flight EK521: Landing gear issues not confirmed". Gulf News. Al Nasir Publishing. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  32. ^ Sneha May Francis (3 August 2016). "Flydubai cancels all flights". Emirates 247. Dubai Media Incorporated. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  33. ^ "Flight operations resume at Dubai airport". Khaleej Times. 3 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Dubai airport day 2: Flight cancellation and warning of delays". Gulf News. Al Nasir Publishing. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  35. ^ Kelly Clarke and Nivriti Butalia (4 August 2016). "Emirates incident: Guess what costs $1 million a minute?". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  36. ^ Sneha May Francis; Bindu Rai (3 August 2016). "DXB departures, arrivals resume". Emirates 247. Dubai Media Incorporated. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  37. ^ a b Nadeem Hanif (4 August 2016). "Flight disruptions expected at Dubai airport for 48 hours following crash landing". The National. Abu Dhabi Media. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  38. ^ Shoshana Kedem (4 August 2016). "Dubai International Airport reopens runway after fire on Emirates flight". 7Days. Catchpole Communications FZ-LLC. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  39. ^ Aarti Nagraj (4 August 2016). "Dubai airport on 'recovery mode' for next 48 hours". Gulf Business. Motivate Publishing. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  40. ^ Alexander Cornwell. "Dubai International returns to full capacity after Emirates fire". Gulf News. AL Nasir Publishing. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  41. ^ Ismail Sebugwaawo (6 August 2016). "Dubai airport flights 'back to normal' after Emirates accident". 7Days. Catchpole Communications FZ-LLC. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  42. ^ Saseendran, Sajila (11 August 2016). "EK521 passengers 'touched' by Emirates compensation announcement". Gulf News. Al Nisr Publishing. Retrieved 12 August 2016.

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