A Global Aviation charter plane with 120 passengers and seven crew members caught fire while it was about to take-off at OR Tambo International Airport, in South Africa Tuesday morning.
Airports Company SA (Acsa) said one of the planeâ€™s tyres exploded, causing the plane to catch fire.
The aircraft was destined for Lilongwe.
Air Malawiâ€™s tariffs and industry affairs manager Tony Chimpukuso said the plane was carrying deportees from South Africa.
He said the South African government chartered the plane.Â Â
There were no injuries reported and the fire was extinguished.
Only one runway was operating at the airport, reported South African Press Agency (Sapa).
Earlier, a witness told Talk Radio 702 that fire-trucks and emergency services were on the scene.
â€œThe aircraft has no under carriage and is on its belly in the middle of the airfield.â€
Eyewitness News reported that the plane was taking off from the cargo area, but it was a passenger aircraft.
Chief Immigration officer Hudson Mankhwala said deportees are coming almost every week, but expressed ignorance on the accident, saying the department is not informed in advance of the arrival of deportees.
Scores of Malawians are arrested for illegal entry and stay in South Africa and are detained at Lindella Camp, awaiting repatriation.