Culture

Wonder what it's like when your plane's wing catches fire?

Technically Incorrect: A video posted to YouTube suggests that when you're seated by a plane's window and the wing spouts flames, the natural thing to do is pull out your cell phone and start filming.

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Those flames coming out of the wing don't look quite right. Jorge Arbeláez/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

What would you have done?

You're sitting by the window on a Viva Colombia flight from Bogota to Rionegro, when you notice flames emerging from the plane's wing.

Let's assume you're perfectly sober and, somehow, not entirely scared out of your trousers. Would you whip our your cell phone and film the excitement?

I only ask because that's what one passenger apparently did on Wednesday night. As Bogota's El Tiempo reports, the full Airbus 320 was experiencing a fire on its wing. First there had been a bang at the point of takeoff.

"You could see the flames and we thought the plane was going to blow up," one passenger, Sebastián Jiménez Botero, told El Tiempo. Botero said people were stunned and frightened and that when he asked a member of the cabin crew what was happening, "she was even more frightened."

Inevitably, perhaps, the 31-year-old Botero said he thought about the planes that had recently gone down in Asia. But when the flames seemed to die down as the plane appeared to slow, people calmed down a little, he said. The pilot landed the plane safely, with no injuries reported.

A purported video of the incident was posted on YouTube by someone with the screen name Jorge Arbeláez. I have contacted Arbeláez to ask whether he shot the video or whether he posted the clip on a passenger's behalf. My attempts to contact Viva Colombia have so far been unsuccessful.

Aviation experts will, of course, insist this was nothing. Just routine. However, Botero said that he used to love flying, but now he's afraid. There is currently no word on what caused the fire.

Still, someone seems to have filmed it all, despite the panic, despite the fear.

Because that's what you do, isn't it?