American Airlines jet bursts in flames during take-off
American Airlines pilots were forced to abort a take-off and evacuate passengers at Chicago’s O’Hare International after the plane burst into flames while thundering down the runway.
The incident occurred Friday when the airliner experienced what a federal official said was a rare and serious type of engine malfunction known as an "uncontained engine failure," in which engine parts break off and are spewed outside the engine.
The danger of such a failure is that engine pieces effectively become shrapnel and can cause extensive damage to the aircraft, puncturing fuel tanks in the wing and causing a major fire, as was the case Friday.
Flames and heavy black smoke poured from the side of the Boeing 767 as it sat on the runway after the aborted take-off.
Airport officials confirmed 21 people were injured. Footage from the scene showed passengers coming down emergency slides and hurrying across grass next to the runway as emergency vehicles surrounded the plane.
The right wing was drooping toward the ground and appeared to have partially melted.
The pilots initially reported an engine-related mechanical issue and aborted the takeoff, according to American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the plane made an emergency stop around 2:35 p.m. after experiencing a problem during takeoff.
The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the incident, with investigators on the scene within hours of the accident.