NTSB launches probe of airliner fire at Fort Lauderdale airport

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

15 hurt after plane catches fire at US airport.

Les Abend is a Boeing 777 captain for a major airline with 31 years of flying experience. Federal investigators on Friday launched a probe of an airliner fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that observers speculated could have been sparked by fuel leaking from the plane.FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — About 24 hours after a plane bound for South America caught fire and ruined travel plans for more than a hundred passengers, special flights have been chartered to finally take them home.MIAMI • Fifteen people were injured, one seriously, when an airliner caught fire while taxiing for take-off on an airport runway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the authorities said.

Dynamic International Airways, less than six years old and operating a small fleet of jets, sought to carve out a niche of less-trodden destinations that major U.S. carriers don’t fully serve, according to company documents. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said an engine caught fire on the Boeing 767 passenger jet, which was getting ready to depart for Caracas, Venezuela, on Thursday. The plane was headed to Caracas, Venezuela. (AP) DANIA BEACH, Florida — 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. NTSB investigator in charge Tim LeBaron told news reporters that the agency’s four-person team will try to determine the root of the fire in the Boeing 767’s left engine. “I know there’s been a lot people saying that fuel was coming from the airplane,” LeBaron said at the airport. “Well, they saw a fluid coming from the airplane.

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. As passengers left the Weston hotel they were put in overnight and headed back to the airport, they shared the perspective they gained from living through such a frightening experience.

Passengers also spoke of their frustration and dissatisfaction with how Dynamic Airways handled the crisis, saying it was a struggle to get information from the airline, from getting on another flight to getting their luggage back. Airport spokesman Greg Meyer said the luggage “is being reunited with the passengers” and that they had options to fly to Caracas over the next three days. 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.

Likewise, FAA and NTSB records show Dynamic — which is privately held — has a clean safety record, with only one serious incident in 2011 when a flight attendant was injured during in-flight turbulence. Boeing designs the wing area directly behind and above the engine exhaust as a “dry bay” with no fuel, so as to prevent “torching.” But it’s a moot point for this scenario.

Its chief executive officer, Gregg Lukenbill, is a former owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings who previously ran a charter airline, Sky King Inc., that flew professional sports teams and musical acts such as Bon Jovi and Tina Turner around the world, the filing said. Once alerted to a fire through visual confirmation from air traffic control, flight attendants, or both, the cockpit crew had to make an immediate decision: Initiate an engine fire checklist or evacuate the airplane? Also in New York, Dynamic was sued earlier this year by a group of people irate over cancellation of a round-trip flight that had been scheduled last December from JFK airport to Georgetown, Guyana.

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 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. The 6-year-old discount airline is based in Greensboro, North Carolina, and started daily service over the summer between Fort Lauderdale and Caracas. The lawsuit said Dynamic kept hundreds of people waiting for hours into the night before cancelling the flight and then failed to inform all of the ticket buyers when it was rescheduled a few days later.

That’s why some passengers aboard the Dynamic Airline 767 reported they experienced a 30- to 40-second delay, despite the frightening scene they were witnessing. 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. If the captain determines that utilizing a particular exit will absolutely jeopardize passenger safety, this information has to be communicated directly to the flight attendants via the intercom or any other such means.

In the meantime, if you are ever faced with a similar evacuation scenario as a passenger, know that your crew is doing everything in its power to keep you safe.

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