Published On: Thu, Jun 18th, 2015

Plane bursts into flames as horrified passengers look on

29B2AC5C00000578-0-image-m-8_1434534350697This is the terrifying moment a commercial airliner bursts into flames moments before passengers were about to board.

The Boeing 737-300 caught fire after an oxygen cylinder exploded as horrified onlookers watched on from the gate.

Dramatic footage shows 15ft-high flames erupting through a massive hole in the fuselage, sending thick, black smoke billowing across the airport.

The disaster struck soon after the Scat Airlines flight DV-742 landed at Aktau Airport in Kazakhstan yesterday after flying from Astana, it was reported by The Aviation Herald.

Engineers were carrying out routine maintenance in readiness for the next flight when the oxygen cylinder exploded near the front luggage compartment just behind the cockpit.

Fortunately, the incoming passengers had already left the 25-year-old aircraft and the outgoing ones had not yet been called to board.

The fire is understood to have caused irreparable damage before firefighters were able to bring the flames under control with water cannon.

SCAT airlines has a terrible safety record and was earlier this year ranked among the most dangerous carriers in the world.

The company was given a safety rating of just one star out of seven, putting it among the bottom in a report which was published in January.

In January 2013, all 21 people on board a SCAT Airlines flight from Kokshetau to Almaty died when the aircraft crashed in poor weather near Kyzyltu.

All five of the most dangerous airlines listed are banned in the European Union Member States and ‘strongly advised against’ in the United States.