Plane catches fire mid-air

Air Koryo plane makes safe landing; none injured

A fire forced a flight from North Korean flag-carrier Air Koryo to land in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang on Friday, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

The scheduled flight from the North Korean capital to Beijing was forced to divert and land in Shenyang "because the plane caught fire," Xinhua said, quoting a passenger on board.

The cabin filled with smoke around 30 minutes after the flight left Pyongyang and passengers were forced to use oxygen masks, it quoted the passenger as saying.

Airport authorities said the plane had made a safe landing and no one aboard was injured, Xinhua said.

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.

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