Passenger jet engine catches fire prior to takeoff at Florida airport
Dania Beach, Fla. — A jet plane's engine caught fire Thursday as it prepared for takeoff, and passengers had to quickly evacuate using emergency slides, officials said.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said there were "some injuries" but offered no further details. Dozens of passengers could be seen in video footage gliding down the slides and running away from the plane to the terminal as fire crews rushed to put the blaze out.
It's not clear how many people were on board the Dynamic Airways flight headed to Caracas, Venezuela, from the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. The Boeing 767 was set to take off at 12:45 p.m. when it caught fire, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.
Passengers on another plane on the runway recorded the fire and posted video to Twitter showing plumes of thick black smoke coming from the plane.
A pilot in an aircraft taxiing behind the Dynamic Airways plane reported fuel leaking from it before the fire, Bergen said.
An audio recording posted by WSVN showed that an air traffic controller told the pilot "a lot of fluid" was leaking from his left engine. The controller then urgently tells the pilot that the engine had caught fire and that he was dispatching firefighters.
Broward Aviation Department spokesman Allan Siegeo said the fire was extinguished by rescue teams on site.
The airport continued to operate shortly after the crash using another runway, but an airport spokeswoman later said the airport had been closed.
Dynamic said on its website its Boeing 767s can accommodate up to 250 people.
Dynamic is a small airline that connects Fort Lauderdale, New York, Venezuela and Guyana. 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 carries such as Dynamic or domestic carriers, which due to the country's economic crisis, have struggled to import replacement parts.
A phone number listed on Dynamic's website was answered by a contracted reservation company which said it had no available numbers for the airline.
The National Transportation Safety Board is monitoring the situation and hasn't yet made a decision on whether to launch an investigation.