An engine on a London-bound British Airways jet caught fire at a Las Vegas airport Tuesday. The passengers aboard had to use emergency slides to escape the aircraft and the thick clouds of black smoke, NBC News reports.
The British Airways Boeing 77 experienced engine failure during the takeoff process around 4:13 p.m. at McCarran International Airport, the airport claimed. The takeoff was disrupted and passengers exited the plane on the runway using the slides. Officials said they were bused to the terminal.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement saying that the left engine on the plane caught fire and the crew aborted the takeoff, USA Today reports. Flight 2276 was on its way to London Gatwick Airport.
The fire was extinct by 4:22 p.m. Witness Paul Berberian told CNN that “the whole thing kind of played out in the course of just a few minutes.”
A passenger who lives in London, Dominic Worthington, said that they “were literally about to take off” when they had to exit the plane. He said that the passengers could see smoke on both sides of the plane before the evacuation chutes were used.
Worthington added that passengers could see debris on the ground and they were bumping into each other at the bottom of the slides. However, he said that the crew members were “brilliant” when it came to communicating with the passengers.
The plane was holding 159 passengers and 13 members of the crew. Only two of those passengers sustained minor injuries, according to USA Today.
Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Jon Klassen told Associated Press that the fire did not seem to breach the cabin. British Airways said in a statement that their priority is always “safety.” “We are looking after customers after a technical issue with the aircraft,” the statement said.
The fire shut down one runway, but three remained open, McCarran airport said. Both departing and incoming flights were delayed due to the fire.