CHICAGO, U.S. - On Friday, the Miami-bound American Airlines 767 caused a scare amongst its 161 passengers and airport authorities as it caught fire, sending passengers hurrying down emergency ...
• 20 people suffered minor injuries while trying to exit the aircraft
• The fire was reported to the Chicago Fire Department at 2:35 p.m. local time
• Buses were immediately brought to service
CHICAGO, U.S. - On Friday, the Miami-bound American Airlines 767 caused a scare amongst its 161 passengers and airport authorities as it caught fire, sending passengers hurrying down emergency slides onto the runway at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
Reports stated that while trying to take off, the right side engine of the flight failed - causing the plane to catch fire sending all the passengers, 9 crew members and one dog scurrying for shelter out of the blazing flight.
While attempting to take off, a loud bang was heard before the plane caught fire and debris surrounded the flight.
According to Chicago EMS District Chief Juan Hernandez, 20 people suffered minor injuries while trying to exit the aircraft and were hospitalised immediately.
A passenger, Gary Schiavone of Demott was quoted in reports as saying that he was watching the safety video when he saw flames rising from the right wing of the plane.
He said, “It cracked the window on the right side of the plane, It was a pretty big ball. First, there was a clunk then, a big explosion. When we got out of the plane, everything was on fire.”
The fire was reported to the Chicago Fire Department at 2:35 p.m. local time (3:35 p.m. ET).
Deputy Fire Commissioner Timothy Sampey from the Chicago Fire Department stated, “This could have been absolutely devastating if it happened later or farther out. The tower did a great job communicating with the pilot, and they got everyone off the plane immediately. Everyone was off the plane by the time the fire truck got there.”
To de-board the passengers, buses were immediately brought to service. Schiavone stated, “Twenty seconds later we would have been up in the air and we would have been done.”
After they were brought to safety, passengers were offered an immediate flight to Miami and the option of boarding flights later.
Jose Castillo, a passenger, told NBC News, “The plane veered and everyone started screaming, the captain started slowing down the plane. We were all just trying to get out of the plane as quickly as possible. They opened the doors and we exited via the emergency slide. Thank God nothing serious happened, it was very scary and everyone was shaking.”
Initially, The Federal Aviation Administration had stated that a tire blew but later investigation prompted them to say that the cause of the fire was a defect in the engine.