Plane catches fire at airport; passengers evacuate on slides

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Florida plane fire: Fifteen injured as Dynamic Airways plane is engulfed in smoke on Fort Lauderdale runway.

DANIA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A jet plane’s engine caught fire as it prepared for takeoff from Florida and more than 100 passengers had to evacuate using emergency slides. A Boeing 767 with over 100 people on board has caught fire at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport as the plane was taxiing up the runway prior to departure for Caracas in Venezuela. MIAMI – Several people were injured when an airliner caught fire while taxiing to a runway at Fort Lauderdale in Florida on Thursday, authorities said. Photos and video from the scene show the Dynamic Airways plane engulfed in thick black flames around 12:30pm before airport firefighters came and extinguished the fire with a white foam.

Television images showed the Dynamic International Airways’ Boeing 767-200ER surrounded by white foam and firefighters’ trucks in Fort Lauderdale, its inflatable evacuation chutes deployed. 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. Fifteen people were taken to the hospital, one with serious burn wounds and two with less serious injuries, Michael Jachles, a spokesman for Broward Sheriff’s Office, told reporters. 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. Dynamic’s 767-200ER was built in 1986, and only seven such planes of that age or older remain in service out of 65 built, according to Collateral Verifications, an aircraft appraisal firm.

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. But looks like quick action really made a big difference here,” representative Debbie Wasserman, whose congressional district includes Fort Lauderdale, said on CNN. The airport handles about 26 million passengers a year, and has flights servicing about 40 international destinations and 60 others in the United States.

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 due to the country’s economic crisis, have struggled to import replacement parts. 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 a very experienced team, which helped evacuating passengers quickly and seamlessly, Dodson said.

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