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Five hospitalized after fire on Montreal airport tarmac

Planespotters take pictures of an airplane landing at the Montreal airport.

PETER McCABE/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A fire on the tarmac at Montreal's Trudeau airport sent five people to hospital with minor injuries Monday.

The blaze erupted on a baggage belt unloading a Royal Air Maroc flight arriving from Casablanca just before 5 p.m.

With a thick cloud of smoke enveloping the plane, airline personnel chose to evacuate the Boeing 767.

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Some of the 250 passengers had to slide out on emergency escape gear.

Seven were treated for smoke inhalation on the spot, with five of them agreeing to go to hospital for treatment. A few also suffered lower-body injuries during the bumpy escape.

"The crew decided to evacuate that way," said airport spokesman Francois-Nicolas Asselin.

"It was their decision. Could they have done it differently? It'll be up to Royal Air Maroc to explain that decision."

The federal Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the incident, and also seek to determine whether evacuation procedures were handled properly.

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