An aircraft carrying the Arsenal women’s team caught fire on the runway at Braunschweig Wolfsburg Airport in Germany. The incident occurred just a few hours after the team secured a 2-2 draw against VfL Wolfsburg in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
According to witnesses, the plane, which was reportedly from a Maltese airline. Experienced a loud bang before flames started shooting out of one of its engines. The pilots quickly stopped the plane on the tarmac and evacuated all passengers. An airport official later confirmed that a bird strike caused the engine fire, but no injuries were reported.
The players and Arsenal staff were accommodated in a nearby hotel overnight before being flown back to London on a replacement plane earlier today. The incident caused a delay for the team as they prepare for a crucial second leg against Wolfsburg at home in the Emirates Stadium next Monday. A victory in the match could potentially propel them to the Women’s Champions League Final. Where they could face either Chelsea or Barcelona.
Arsenal last won the competition in 2007, which is the only time an English club has claimed victory in the tournament’s history. Barcelona are the defending champions, while French side Lyon have won the trophy a record eight times since 2011. However, Lyon was knocked out of this year’s competition in the quarter-finals by Chelsea. Who are set to play the second leg of their semi-final against Barcelona on Thursday.
A spokesman for Arsenal confirmed that the incident was due to a technical issue and thanked the staff onboard the aircraft and on the ground at the airport for their assistance.