DANIA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A jet plane’s engine caught fire Thursday as it prepared for takeoff, and passengers had to quickly evacuate using emergency slides, officials said.
One person was seriously injured by burns that were not life-threatening and about a dozen other people were taken to the hospital for minor injuries including bumps, sprains and stress, said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said.
Dozens of passengers could be seen in video footage gliding down the slides and running away from the plane to the terminal as fire crews rushed to put the blaze out.
There were 110 passengers and crew onboard the flight departing Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, Jachles said. The Boeing 767’s left engine caught fire as it taxied for takeoff to Caracas, Venezuela.
Passengers on another plane on the runway recorded the fire and posted video to Twitter showing plumes of thick black smoke coming from the plane.
A pilot in an aircraft taxiing behind the Dynamic Airways plane and an air traffic controller reported fuel leaking from it before the fire.
An air traffic controller told the pilot “a lot of fluid” was leaking from his left engine and then urgently said the engine had caught fire and that he was dispatching firefighters, according to an audio recording posted by WSVN.
Broward Aviation Department spokesman Allan Siegeo said the fire was extinguished by rescue teams on site.
The airport closed briefly after the fire but had reopened Thursday afternoon.
Dynamic said on its website its Boeing 767s can accommodate up to 250 people. Dynamic is a 5-year-old airline that connects Fort Lauderdale, New York, Venezuela and Guyana. It operates seven 767s.
It began servicing Caracas in July, after several other major airlines ended or slashed service to Venezuela over the government’s refusal to pay an estimated $4 billion the carriers say they have trapped in the country.
For Venezuelans hoping to travel abroad, the options have been severely reduced to little-known carries such as Dynamic or domestic carriers, which due to the country’s economic crisis, have struggled to import replacement parts.
The company’s CEO, Paul Kraus, did not immediately respond to an email. A phone number listed on Dynamic’s website was answered by a contracted reservation company which said it had no available numbers for the airline.
The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a four-person team to Fort Lauderdale to investigate. Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, Boeing and Dynamic will also take part.