A British Airways jet has caught fire at Las Vegas airport, sending smoke billowing into the air, after suffering what the pilot described as a “catastrophic failure” of the left engine.
The plane – a Boeing 777 – could be seen with flames around its fuselage.
There were 159 passengers and 13 crew on board. Two people were treated for minor injuries as a result of the fire, which involved a flight that was due to fly from the US city’s McCarran airport to Gatwick. The blaze was quickly put out by around 50 firefighters.
The plane’s take-off had been aborted shortly before the fire broke out. TheFederal Aviation Administration said the Boeing’s 777 left engine burst into flames. Passegers were evacuated via inflatable slides.
Dramatic images of flight BA2276 were shared on social media by members of the public at the airport, which is five miles south of downtown Las Vegas.
Guardian reporter Jacob Steinberg was on the plane and tweeted about the evacuation: “Just evacuated on a British Airways flight at Las Vegas airport after an engine caught fire. Don’t think anyone hurt.
“Was asleep as the plane took off. Came to a crashing halt. Smell of smoke. Initially told to stay seated, then shout of evacuate.
“Could smell and see smoke but was on other side of plane. One person said fire melted a couple of windows.
“They opened the back door and slide went down and smoke started coming in plane, followed by mad dash to front. A lot of panic.”
Steinberg reported that the pilot came to talk to the evacuated passengers in the airport building, and was met by applause. The pilot told them the fire had been the result of a “catastrophic failure of the engine”.
McCarran airport said the first call alerting it to the emergency had come at 4.13pm local time (7.13pm EDT/11.13pm GMT/9.13am AEST), and flames were spotted one minute later. The fire was extinguished and all passengers evacuated by 4.18pm.
Airport authorities said one runway had been put out of service, but other flights were operating as normal from the three other runways. Some flights would be subject to delays, they said.
The aircraft model was identified as a 275-seat B777-200, a long-range twin jet which operates on longhaul routes for BA, one of the world’s largest operators of the type.
Culled from TheGuardian