The engine of a British Airways jet caught fire on the runway at Las Vegas airport on Tuesday shortly before take off. Pictures from McCarran International Airport show the Boeing 777 engulfed in flames, smoke billowing high into the Nevada sky.
All 159 and 13 crew escaped the aircraft on emergency slides, with 14 people needing treatment for minor injuries. According to AP, around 50 firefighters doused the aircraft after flames shot out from under the wing.
The incident occurred around 4pm local time and involved British Airways Flight 2276 outbound to Gatwick.
UPDATE 4:22 PM -- Incident @LASairport involved British Airways outbound flight 2276, bound for London Gatwick. Fire has been put out.
— McCarran Airport (@LASairport) September 8, 2015
Passengers were accused of slowing the plane's evacuation by grabbing their hand luggage before leaving, media reported.
Guardian sports reporter Jacob Steinberg, who was on board, said: "You could smell the smoke from the outside, you could see it. I heard later that a couple of windows had melted.
"A couple of minutes later the stewards told us to evacuate – that sparked a lot of panic."
Speaking to AP, Reggie Bügmüncher from Philadelphia, saw "bursts of flames coming out of the middle of the plane" while waiting at a gate for her flight.
"Everyone ran to the windows and people were standing on their chairs, looking out, holding their breath with their hands over their mouths," she said.
Dominic Worthington, a passenger who lives in London, told NBC News: "We were literally just about to take off." He confirmed that smoke was visible on both sides of the plane.
No official reason for the blaze has yet been established, however Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed the left engine caught fire.
One runway was short down due to the incident, however three remained in operation.
Steinberg tweeted: "Just evacuated on a British Airways flight at Las Vegas airport after an engine caught fire. Don’t think anyone hurt."
British Airways said in a statement that "Safety is always our priority. We are looking after customers after a technical issue with the aircraft."
— New York Post (@nypost) September 9, 2015
— Eugenio Bertolaccini (@EBertolaccini) September 8, 2015
Spectacular photo of the BA jet on fire on runway in Las Vegas. Thankfully no serious injuries. pic.twitter.com/YWksD8Ub5B
— Glenn Mitchell (@MitchellGlenn) September 9, 2015
— АРТЕМ КЛЮШИН (@ARTEM_KLYUSHIN) September 9, 2015
Video of the aftermath here pic.twitter.com/3Uxnmz0ltr
We are heading to a hotel now in a bus. People are shaking the pilot's hand and thanking him.
The pilot looked pretty shook up to be honest. Has been flying for years, don't think he had ever seen anything like that
To give you an idea of what the fire was like (that's my mate Jez, who just had a knee reconstruction, on the run). pic.twitter.com/snpHGFyxIC
— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) September 8, 2015
The Boeing 777 is reported to have one of the best safety records of any commercial liner. When MH17 was shot down in Ukraine in July last year, experts said the record was "very strong," USA Today reported.
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