Some passengers were 'crying' after an oven caught fire on their flight to South Africa

A KLM Boeing 777 takes off from Schipol Airport in Amsterdam
A KLM Boeing 777 takes off from Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.Getty Images
  • An oven fire broke out on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg on Thursday.

  • Flight attendants rushed to put out the flames and console "shaky" passengers.

  • "There was a lot of crying," passenger Tiana Cline told Insider.

An oven fire broke out on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg on Thursday that left some passengers  "very panicky" after they saw thick smoke in the cabin.

"There was a lot of crying," Tiana Cline, who was on the flight, told Insider.

Cabin crew rushed to extinguish the flames and try to console "shaky" passengers before the Boeing 777-200 turned around over the Mediterranean Sea to go back to Amsterdam.

Cline, South Africa-based journalist, had been in Europe for a conference.

"I was watching something on my phone with headphones in and I looked up and there were over 30 people standing in front of me. I thought: why are so many people going to the bathroom?" she told Insider. "When I looked again, I realized that they were crying."


The crew were alerted to a fire by a passenger who'd spotted smoke as he headed to the bathroom. Flight attendants told passengers seated at the back of the plane to move down the aisle to avoid inhaling the thick smoke coming from the oven, Cline said.

The crew put on protective clothing and extinguished the flames. One of the stewards emerged looking like a "chimney sweep" after being enveloped in thick smoke, she said.

Once the blaze was put out, the aircraft returned to Amsterdam's Schipol Airport as a precautionary measure.

Another plane was found for the flight to Johannesburg and Cline said the cabin crew were particularly attentive to any stressed-out passengers.

The passengers landed in Johannesburg at about 5:30 a.m. Friday, some seven hours late.

The Dutch air safety body is investigating the fire.

A representative for KLM told Paddle Your Own Kanoo: "An incident occurred on flight KL591 from Amsterdam to Johannesburg on 9 February. There was a fire in the aft kitchen of the aircraft. Cabin crew swiftly extinguished the fire. As a safety precaution, the flight returned to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Passengers and crew were unharmed."

The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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