Plane departing Atlantic City, NJ airport evacuated after fire
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – A Florida-bound plane attempting to take off from a New Jersey airport caught fire on the runway after an apparent bird strike, prompting the evacuation of more than 100 passengers and crew, officials said.
Spirit Airlines Flight 3044 bound for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was accelerating for takeoff on the runway at Atlantic City Airport shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday when it struck what authorities believe was a large bird, the airline said in a statement.
“The captain safely braked and stopped the aircraft, received an indication of engine damage and ordered an evacuation in accordance with our standard procedures,” the airline said, noting that the aircraft did not never left the ground.
Flames could be seen coming from the plane’s engine in a photo tweeted by @Medic6940, Atlantic City Press reported. The plane’s cabin never caught fire, the airline said.
The South Jersey Transportation Authority said all 109 people on board the Airbus A320, 102 passengers and seven crew, were safely evacuated.
Two people reported minor injuries “which required medical transport”, the authority said.
A video shared on Youtube by ‘Your Favorite News Network’ shows passengers scrambling to get out of the cabin and using the emergency inflatable slide to get out safely on the tarmac, as some swear and others urge everyone world to stay calm.
The fire was extinguished and the plane was left on the runway pending an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, the authority said.
Passengers were to receive a full refund along with a voucher for future travel and the option to continue to Fort Lauderdale on another plane later Saturday, the airline said.
(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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