Plane of Arsenal Women's football team bursts into flames on runway in Germany
By Jack Walters
Published: 24/04/2023- 15:40
Updated: 24/04/2023- 17:13
A plane transporting the Arsenal Women's team back to London from Wolsfburg burst into flames on the runway on Sunday evening.
The blaze occurred at the Braunschweig Wolfsburg Airport after a bird flew into the aircraft's engine shortly before it was due to take off.
The incident led flames to immediately spew out of the Boeing 737 at around 7.30pm.
Crew members quickly evacuated passengers to safety, including members of the Gunners squad.
Arsenal fans are in the stands during the UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final first leg match at the Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg
The airport fire brigade was also on hand to provide immediate assistance.
German newspaper The Bild, which reported there was a loud bang, revealed an airport spokesman explained how it is likely several birds got into the turbine.
Arsenal released a statement confirming the squad returned to London safely this morning.
The statement said: "Our aircraft developed a technical issue prior to take-off in Germany on Sunday evening.
"As a result, we remained in Wolfsburg overnight on Sunday before flying back to England on Monday afternoon.
"We would like to thank the staff onboard the aircraft and on the group at the airport for their assistance."
Arsenal Women, who became the only English club to win the Uefa Women's Champions League with victory against Umea IK in 2007, returned from the capital level with VfL Wolfsburg Ladies.
The Gunners clawed their way back after going two goals down inside 25 minutes, with quick goals for Polish striker Ewa Pajor and Icelandic forward Sveindis Jonsdottir.
Wolfsburg's Ewa Pajor (right) scores their side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final first leg match
Arsenal's Brazilian defender Rafaelle Souza found the back of the net before the interval.
Swedish striker Stina Blackstenius, who joined Arsenal from BK Hacken in January 2022, drew the Gunners level in the 70th minute.
Arsenal Women will face VfL Wolsfburg Ladies in the second-leg at the Emirates Stadium on May 1.
Chelsea Women's could join their London rivals at PSV Eindhoven's Philips Stadion in the Netherlands if the Blues find a way to overcome Barcelona's one goal deficit when Emma Hayes' side travel to the Nou Camp on Thursday.
Chelsea reached the continental cup final in 2021 but were defeated by Barcelona in a 4-0 drubbing at Gothenburg's Gamla Ullevi in Sweden.