American Airlines jet catches fire on take-off

Passengers evacuating the American Airlines plane at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Passengers evacuating the American Airlines plane at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

CHICAGO • The engine of an American Airlines Group jet caught fire seconds from take-off at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, prompting the crew to abort its departure and evacuate passengers via emergency chutes, the authorities said.

No serious injuries were reported in the incident, which occurred hours before an unrelated incident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the landing gear of a FedEx cargo plane collapsed on touchdown, sparking a fire that was quickly extinguished. The company later said the FedEx pilots were safe.

American Airlines Flight 383, a Boeing 767 bound for Miami with 161 passengers and a crew of nine, was headed down an O'Hare runway at about 2.30pm on Friday (Singapore time 3.30am yesterday) when the right-side engine of the twin-engine jet burst into flames, the authorities said.

Footage from Chicago's ABC News affiliate station WLS-TV showed the plane on the ground with flames and large clouds of black smoke billowing from its right side and emergency slides deployed on the left side.

Passengers milled about watching the blaze as fire trucks pumped water onto the flames.

Mr Timothy Sampey, the assistant deputy fire commissioner, said the incident could have been much worse. The plane was fully loaded with 19,504kg of jet fuel, which was leaking when the fire crew reached the jet, he told a news conference later. He confirmed that the incident began with a fire in the right-side engine.

The plane's CF6 engine, the "workhorse" of the commercial aviation industry, was built by General Electric, and GE dispatched investigators to the scene, the company said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 30, 2016, with the headline 'American Airlines jet catches fire on take-off'. Print Edition | Subscribe