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Source of smoke on CSA jet in Helsinki remains mystery

Staff Writer |
Finnish officials denied that a fire had broken out on board a CSA Czech Airlines jet preparing to take off from Helsinki on Friday.

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The passengers and crew of the aircraft were evacuated after some passengers had sensed the scent of smoke.

Ismo Aaltonen, chief inspector of the Finnish Accident Investigation Center, told the media on Friday evening that the observation of smoke has been confirmed but the source of it remained unclear.

The luggage on board has been investigated and no traces of smoke have been detected, he said.

The black boxes of the aircraft will be looked through. No technical systems of the aircraft have reacted to smoke, Aaltonen said.

The situation had begun as passengers in the front rows had banged on the walls of the front galley and the captain had then ordered the evacuation. As the Airbus 319 had left the gate, emergency chutes were used for the deplaning and some people got slight bruises.

Aaltonen said the reaction of the aircraft crew appears to have been "stronger than the situation actually was". Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat quoted Aaltonen as saying that "in their training flight personnel have been taught to react strongly to extraordinary situations."

The incident was first reported by some local media as a fire.

Passengers were continuing their journey to Prague with other connections. Local media gave the flight number as OK.481 departing for Prague at 4 p.m.

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