May 24, 2006

Three hurt in cargo area fire at Istanbul airport

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A large fire broke out in a cargo area
of Istanbul's main Ataturk Airport on Wednesday, injuring three
people but not causing any air traffic delays, officials said.

Fire engines and ambulances rushed to the scene of the fire
where huge plumes of black smoke billowed up from the airport
which serves Turkey's largest city. Planes normally used for
water bombing forest fires swooped down to douse the flames.

"There are no delays in air traffic, takeoffs and landings
are continuing. Planes are being pulled away from the area.
Work on putting out the fire is continuing," airport director
Irfan Balta told CNN Turk.

Istanbul Deputy Governor Fikret Kasapoglu told Turkish NTV
television news channel that three people had been hurt. NTV
also reported the transport ministry as saying the fire had
been brought under control.

The fire broke out around 3:30 pm (1230 GMT) in the cargo
section of Terminal C, which is used by smaller airlines.

There was no official word on the cause of the blaze,
though the Dogan news agency said it may have been caused by an
electricity short circuit.

TV also reported that the electricity network had been
affected and that passengers were being checked in manually.

There were concerns that some people were stuck in the area
where the fire was raging, Turkish television said.

The cargo area is about 1,000 meters (yards) from the main
passenger area of the airport.

Turkish Airlines also said that so far there were no delays
to their flights.