Russia’s aviation watchdog Rosaviatsya said that during the landing there was a brief fire on one of the engines and that it would investigate the incident, Interfax reported. Social and Saudi media footage also appeared to show one of the engines catching fire, but a spokesman for airline Rossiya denied a fire had occurred and said the fault was due to a bird strike.
The team were travelling on a Rossiya Airbus A319 from St Petersburg to Rostov-on-Don, where they are due to play their second Group A match against Uruguay on Wednesday.
As it came in to land, the plane “suffered a technical fault with one of its engines, with a bird getting caught seen as the preliminary cause,” a Rossiya airlines spokesman said in a statement.
Reports of a fire in one of the engines were incorrect, the spokesman added.
“Nothing threatened the safety of the passengers. The aircraft’s landing took place in a routine fashion. No warning was sounded during the landing.”
The Saudi federation released photographs of the players smiling and looking calm as they boarded a bus for the Mercure Hotel in central Rostov.
“All the Saudi national team players are safe, after a technical failure in one of the airplane engines … and now they’re heading to their residence safely,” it said in a statement on Twitter.
“I want to reassure you that we got to Rostov safely, it was a simple technical fault in the airplane but thank God we are now in the hotel and things are good,” Osama Hawsawi, captain of the Saudi team, said in a video shared on social media.
Source Credit: Reuters