A British Airways plane bound for London has caught fire at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas after an engine burst into flames.
All 159 passengers and 13 crew members were safely evacuated. According to airport officials, at least 13 people were injured and were brought to a hospital.
The commercial plane, a Boeing 777-200 suffered an engine failure and caught fire even before it could take off.
Flight 2276 was bound for Gatwick Airport in London.
McCarran Airport tweeted: “Received first call at 4:13PM; flames were spotted at 4:14, and by 4:14 response was underway.”
The Federal Aviation Administration told Agence France Presse that the fire broke out in the jet’s left engine, which prompted the pilot to abort takeoff.
“Passengers deplaned on the runway using emergency slides and (were) bussed to the terminal,” said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.
“The aircraft, a 777-200 experienced a technical issue as it was preparing for take-off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas heading for London.”
British Airways, in a statement explained that the aircraft “experienced a technical issue as it was preparing for take-off”.
“Our crew evacuated the aircraft safely and the fire was quickly extinguished by the emergency services at the airport,” BA said in a statement.
“A small number of customers and our crew have been taken to hospital.
“All customers have been provided with hotel accommodation, and our colleagues are helping them with anything further they require.”
British Airways assured the public of their commitment to aviation safety.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority, and we are looking after those who were on board the BA2276 from Las Vegas to London Gatwick…”
Some passengers have witnessed the incident and posted videos and photos on different social media sites.
Just landed in Las Vegas, plane is on fire. People were on boaard but it looks like they all got off in time. pic.twitter.com/0AN5HvBB5G
— Eric Hays (@ericmhays) September 8, 2015
John Ostrower, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal who writes about aerospace manufacturing, airlines and commercial aircraft, said that though extremely rare, airline pilots have been trained rigorously on incidents where engine fails on takeoff.
“Aircraft and their crews are dispatched with precise speeds and weight calculations to allow an aircraft to stop safely during the high-acceleration during the takeoff process.
“If an engine fails just as the nose of a Boeing 777 is lifting or the instant the plane leaves the ground, its automated fly-by-wire systems automatically adjust thrust in the remaining good engine and manipulate controls to assist the pilot and ensure the jet remains controllable.”
In a statement, Boeing said they are gathering more information about the incident.
We’re aware of the incident at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Our teams are currently gathering more information.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) September 8, 2015
An investigation into the blaze is now being conducted.
Below is a video uploaded by Balaji Rajgiri showing the incident as it happens.