HOUSTON (AFP) - A private plane crashed when attempting to take off on Tuesday (Oct 19) in Texas, with all 21 passengers and crew on board scrambling to safety before the aircraft burst into flames.
Television images showed fire fighters spraying water onto the burning remains of the plane, which had plowed through a fence and come to a halt across a track in a field, surrounded by trees and bushes.
The fuselage was reduced to ashes, with only the tail section surviving as black smoke poured from the wreckage.
"Fortunately, all 21 passengers including three crew members were reported as safely evacuated from this twin-engine jet before it was fully engulfed in flames," the Katy Fire Department said in a statement.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-87 plane was taking off from Houston Executive Airport, Brookshire, bound for Boston when it crashed, officials said.
Local reports said it was taking a group of fans to watch a play-off baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday evening.
Houston's KHOU news reported that the plane's owner, James Alan Kent, was on board for the ill-fated trip.
Tim Gibson, director of the Waller Harris county emergency services, said the passengers and crew "were stunned, they were very, very stunned, but they did all self-extricate."
"We're always expecting the worst but hoping for the best - in today, we absolutely positively got the best outcome we can hope for on this incident," Gibson told a press conference.
He said fire crews had extinguished the fire "after substantial effort" to control burning jet fuel.
Officials said one passenger was a 10-year old child, and two people were taken for treatment for minor injuries including back pain after the crash.
"The plane did not attain altitude at the end of the runway and went across Morton Road, coming to a rest in the field just north of the airport, where it caught on fire," Waller County judge Trey Duhon, said on Facebook.