An outbound British Airways flight caught fire at the Las Vegas airport Tuesday, causing minor injuries to passengers who had to be transported for medical care.
The incident occurred aboard British Airways Flight 2276 bound for London’s Gatwick Airport shortly after 4 p.m., McCarran International Airport said via Twitter. The fire stemmed from the aircraft’s left engine, which caused the crew to prevent taking off, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.
Majority of the injuries were caused as passengers evacuated the Boeing 777 by sliding down the inflatable chutes, according to Clark County Fire Department Deputy Chief Jon Klassen. As reported by CNN, 159 passengers and 13 crew members were aboard the flight.
Photographs and video footage captured showed one of the airport’s runways out of service as a result of the fire. The aircraft was consumed by smoke.
Reggie Bagmancher was waiting at the gate for her flight. She saw “bursts of flames coming out of the middle of the plane.”
“Everyone ran to the windows and people were standing on their chairs, looking out, holding their breath with their hands over their mouths,” she said.
According to The Independent, firefighters responded to the scene of the incident within two minutes. Three minutes in, the passengers and crew had evacuated the plane. Emergency vehicles arrived soon after the flames were put out by firefighters.
Bradley Hampton, who was on another plane about 200 to 300 yards away, said, “All of a sudden, we saw the doors fly open and the slides inflate.”
“At that time, we saw droves of people jumping out of a slide and running across the runway away from the plane,” he said.
Paul Berberian, who had just landed on a flight, said the emergency response occurred swiftly. “It was like seconds, it was incredibly efficient,” he said.” As soon as the slides popped, five seconds later people were just flying down … and running away.”
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McCarran International Airport is America’s ninth busiest airport. According to Sydney Morning Herald, the airport is used daily by 30 flights.
Jacob Steinberg, a journalist for The Guardian, who was on the flight at the time of the incident, said the passengers were asked to remain where they were seated but it was soon followed by a “shout of evacuate.”
“[We] could smell and see smoke but was on [the] other side of plane,” he said.
Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said the incident was being investigated. Klassen said the cause of the fire hadn’t been determined as of yet.
This is the second fire incident aboard a British Airways flight in a month. As reported by Telegraph, a flight headed to Oslo from London had to emergency land at the Heathrow airport after one engine was damaged and another one caught fire.
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