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Published on Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Saudi World Cup football squad in mid-air drama as plane catches fire

A flight carrying the Saudi Arabia football squad to their second Word Cup match caught fire after a mid-air bird strike.

Footage of the drama has been posted on social media, with one video showing flames coming from the engine of the A319.

The aircraft had taken off from St Petersburg to carry the football players, team officials and coaching staff to the southern city of Rostov-on-Don yesterday.

They arrived at their destination last night and flight operator Rossiya Airline said 'nothing threatened the safety of the passengers', adding that the aircraft had landed in 'routine fashion'.

Saudi Arabian Football Federation president Ahmad Al Harbi said: "It was a small fire in one of the engines, the right engine, but the plane landed safely."

Midfielder Hatan Bahbir tweeted: "We are all fine. Well, of course we were scared a bit, but thank God."

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