New Details Emerge of Plane Fire at Fort Lauderdale Airport as NTSB Launches …

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jetliner Fire on Florida Runway Forces Passengers to Flee.

DANIA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The plane that caught fire as it prepared to take off from Fort Lauderdale to Venezuela had no previous incidents or issues, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday as cleanup from the fuel that spilled on the taxiway continued.

A plane burst into flames as it taxied towards the runway at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Airport, sending passengers and crew scrambling to safety on its escape chutes. The Dynamic Airways plane — a Boeing 767/269 that was manufactured in 1986 and is owned by Utah-based airplane leasing company KMW Leasing in Salt Lake City — lost 45 to 50 gallons of fuel, damaging the asphalt. An aircraft taxiing behind the plane reported spotting fuel leaking from the twin-aisle Boeing Co. 767 before the blaze started at about 12:45 p.m., according to the U.S. Some ran from the plane into the terminal at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport as fire crews rushed to put the fire out. “I heard a loud bang. The Broward County Sheriff’s office reported 14 injuries, including one person who suffered burns, according to WSVN.com. “The crew followed the emergency procedures, shut down the engine and evacuated the aircraft in order to assure safety to all on board,” Dynamic said in a statement on Facebook.

I turned around, saw the lights, saw the flames and I ran to the front of the aircraft,” said Gallegos, who said it took about 30 seconds for the plane doors to open. “It was pretty nerve-wracking, knowing that the door wasn’t opening and that something was on fire.” Other passengers reported chaos as people screamed, cried and ran through the plane. Photos and video posted to social media sites showed black smoke billowing from the left side of the plane as passengers skidded down inflatable chutes to safety. Once inside the airport, passengers expressed frustration, saying they’d been held in a room for more than an hour and had not heard from the airline.

Don Dodson, the director of operations for Dynamic Airways, said airline officials had set up a crisis center, flown in additional airline representatives to help passengers and arranged for a relief flight to take passengers to their final destinations. The carrier offers service from airports in locations such as New York, Guyana, Florida and Hong Kong on its fleet of wide-body 767s, according to its website. 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. Dynamic 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 carriers such as Dynamic or domestic carriers, which have struggled to import replacement parts because of the country’s economic crisis.

Airline officials said they’ve already started reviewing records for the crew and the plane, which was last inspected in June and had a new engine with less than 200 hours of flight time. Nine crew members were onboard — more than required — and were an experienced team, which helped evacuating passengers quickly and seamlessly, Dodson said.

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