An Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane burst into flames at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Wednesday as it was preparing for a flight to South America. The “B777 freighter aircraft … caught fire while loading cargo at Pudong Shanghai airport”, the carrier said in a statement, adding that “all ground staff and flying crew are safe”. The incident happened as the Boeing 777 was loading up for a scheduled flight to Sao Paulo in Brazil and onwards to the Chilean capital Santiago. The state-owned airline said its staff worked with authorities at the scene to tackle the fire. Shanghai’s fire department said on Weibo – China’s Twitter-like platform – that it dispatched 18 fire engines to the scene. Video footage shared on social media showed flames and thick black smoke billowing from the aircraft. The flight arrived in Shanghai from Brussels about 11.50am on Wednesday, according to the online air traffic tracking service Flightradar24. The cause of the blaze was being investigated, the airline said.