DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - All seemed normal to the 300 people aboard the Emirates airliner as it flew past the world's tallest building in hazy skies and made a slow left turn over the waters of the Persian Gulf. But as soon as the plane touched down at Dubai International Airport, everyone knew something had gone wrong.
"It was a big noise," said Shadi Kochuktty, a passenger from India. "We hadn't heard any announcement but it was a big noise."
From that terrifying moment on, all those on board the Boeing 777 faced the nightmare all white-knuckle fliers fear: Smoke filling the cabin. People screaming. And the rush to escape.
The three-and-a-half-hour, nearly 1,860-mile flight itself began normally. It left from the Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state, where many of the United Arab Emirates' construction workers, taxi drivers and laborers come from in search of a better life.
Flight EK521 took off at 10:19 a.m. and was scheduled to land at 12:50 p.m. local time, according to Emirates. The aircraft flew over the Arabian Sea and later Oman on a northwesterly course heading toward Dubai.