[USA Today] – At least 15 people were injured when an apparently leaking engine on a Dynamic Airways plane burst into flames on the tarmac as it was taxiing for takeoff Thursday at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, according to authorities.
The fire, which forced passengers to evacuate down an emergency chute, sent many fleeing over the tarmac through thick clouds of black smoke.
The blaze also forced the airport to cease operations for more than two hours, until one runaway was reopened at 3:15 p.m. EDT.
Allan Siegel, an airport spokesman, said the south runway is operational with flights arriving and departing. The north runway is still closed because of the incident, and Siegel said he couldn’t speculate on when it would reopen.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles says 15 people were taken to the hospital after the fire on the Dynamic Airways Boeing 767, the Associated Press reports. One suffered burns that were not life-threatening while the rest suffered less serious injuries such as bumps, bruises and sprains.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that an aircraft taxiing behind the Dynamic Airways plane “reported that fuel was leaking from the aircraft before the fire started.”
The plane, carrying 101 passengers and crew, was heading for Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas.The airline has been flying the route four times a week since June.
Emergency responders from the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue quickly sprayed foam on the left engine to extinguish the blaze. The National Transportation Safety Board said is sending a four-person team to Fort Lauderdale to investigate the fire. IT will be joined by representatives from the FAA, Pratt &Whitney, Boeing and Dynamic Airways.
The small, 5-year-old airline, with headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., connects Fort Lauderdale, New York, Venezuela and Guyana, the Associated Press reports.