VIDEO:British Airways plane erupts in flames taking off
A British Airways airliner, Flight BA2276, caught fire at Las Vegas airport Wednesday morning after suffering what the pilot described as a “catastrophic failure” of the left engine.
The incident occurred as the Boeing 777 heading from McCarran airport in Las Vegas to London Gatwick was preparing to take-off.
Pictures taken by passengers and fire crews show flames and smoke billowing as the 157 passengers and 13 crew were evacuated. No one was seriously injured in the incident, British Airways confirmed in a statement.
Fire officials said 14 people were taken to Sunrise hospital to be treated for minor injuries sustained during the evacuation of the burning aircraft.
The fire was put out by around 50 firefighters. An airport spokesperson told reporters: “All passengers were evacuated quickly and safely and taken by bus to the terminal.”
“We cannot express enough gratitude to the emergency response crews, as well as the British Airways crew,” the spokesperson added.
The captain of the airliner has been praised for his professional handling of the emergency. A video posted on YouTube records the moment he declared the mayday.
Another video shows the aftermath of the emergency as passengers stream out of the stricken airliner.
The first sign of a problem came when one of the BA pilots contacted air traffic control shortly after the plane had begun its take-off procedures: “Speedbird 2276 heavy stopping.”
Fifteen seconds later one of the pilots says: “Speedbird Mayday Mayday. Speedbird 2276 request fire services.”
Air traffic control responds: “Speedbird 2276, heavy fire services on the way.”
About 30 seconds later one of the pilots says: “Speedbird 2276 heavy, we are evacuating on the runway. We have a fire, repeat, we are evacuating.”
The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the incident, an official with the agency said, while FAA officials have been sent to the airport.
Boeing said it was “aware of the incident at McCarran airport in Las Vegas”, adding: “Our teams are currently gathering more information.”