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11 injured as Boeing passenger plane veers off runway in Senegal

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An Air Senegal Boeing passenger plane veered off the runway during takeoff from Dakar international airport, causing injuries to 11 people, four of whom were seriously hurt. The incident led to the closure of the airport for nearly 12 hours.

The flight, bound for Bamako, Mali, with 78 passengers onboard, experienced the mishap during its takeoff phase around 1:00 am (0100 GMT), according to the airport management company, LAS.

Pictures circulating on social media and local news outlets depicted the aircraft in an overgrown area with first aid responders tending to an injured person. Smoke and flames were visible near the plane.

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The jet, identified as a Boeing 737/300, had been chartered from Transair, a privately owned airline. The injured passengers were promptly attended to, with six others undergoing medical examinations inside the airport.

Blaise Diagne airport at Diass, situated 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Dakar, resumed operations after midday, following its closure due to the incident. The aircraft, immobilized away from the runway, prompted airport authorities to activate an emergency plan.

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While the exact cause of the incident remains under investigation, aviation specialists and representatives of the airline are on-site examining data logs and interviewing crew members.

The Senegalese Bureau of Investigation and Analysis has launched an inquiry to determine the root cause of the accident.

The incident adds to the challenges faced by both Air Senegal, which has been criticized for flight delays, and Boeing, which has been grappling with safety concerns following previous accidents involving its aircraft.

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State-owned Air Senegal commenced operations in May 2018, aiming to position Dakar as a regional air hub. The Blaise Diagne airport, named after the first African lawmaker elected to the French parliament, was inaugurated in December 2017, replacing the Leopold-Sedar-Senghor International Airport.

Transair, founded in 2010 and based at Blaise Diagne airport, serves several destinations across West Africa.

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