LAS VEGAS — An engine on a London-bound British Airways jet caught fire Tuesday while the plane was preparing to take off from Las Vegas, shooting flames from the side of the jet and forcing passengers to escape on emergency slides.
Billowing black smoke and orange flames could be seen pouring from under the plane’s wings, sending passengers fleeing quickly from the aircraft and across the tarmac before about 50 firefighters doused the flames in minutes.
British Airways said late Tuesday that 157 passengers, not 159 according to earlier reports, were on board Flight 2276 in addition to 10 crew members and three pilots.
All were able to get off the plane, McCarran International Airport spokesman Chris Jones said.
British Airways passenger describes plane fire
Passengers quickly took emergency slides to escape a British Airlines plane that caught fire Tuesday in Las Vegas. Dominic Worthington, who evacu…
Fire officials said 14 people were taken to Sunrise Hospital by early Tuesday evening for minor injuries, most a result of sliding down the inflatable chutes to escape.
Some crew members were among them, British Airways spokesperson Caroline Titmuss told CBS News in an email exchange.
She didn’t answer questions about the fire but said “safety is always our priority,” adding that the carrier would provide passengers with hotel rooms.
The Federal Aviation Administration delayed flights to Las Vegas from some airports for more than two hours after the fire to slow the flow of planes while the disabled Boeing 777 made two of the airport’s four runways inaccessible. One of the runways reopened about 2 1/2 hours after the fire.
Reggie Bugmuncher, of Philadelphia, said she was charging her phone and waiting at a gate for her flight when she heard people saying, “Oh, my God.” She looked out the window and could see “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,” Bügmüncher said.
The plane’s emergency slides were deployed a few moments later and passengers quickly got off.
She said it was a “bit more orderly” than she would have expected, given the dramatic nature of the fire and smoke.
Passenger Shane McArdle told CBS Las Vegas affiliate KLAS-TV he came within feet of the flames.
“I was one of the first people off the plane, jumped …Read More