Essex residents on board flight BA2276 which caught fire at Las Vegas airport
- Credit: AP
An Essex man was among those on board a plane which caught fire on the runway of Las Vegas’ airport.
At least 14 people were injured after being forced to evacuate the Gatwick-bound British Airways Boeing 777-200 at McCarran International Airport.
The pilot brought the plane to an emergency stop after flames engulfed the engine.
Passenger David Willey, from Chelmsford, told the BBC: “As the plane was speeding up to take off and we were just about to lift off we heard a big bang and suddenly the plane screeched to a massive halt.
“We saw a few people running through the plane and the stewardesses were shouting at them to sit down.
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“We looked out of our windows and we saw a lot of smoke coming out at which point the pilots came on the tannoy and said ‘evacuate, evacuate, evacuate’.”
It is thought up to eight Essex residents could have been on board flight BA2276.
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The airport was alerted to the emergency, which involved the left engine, at 4.13pm local time.
All 157 passengers and 13 crew were clear of the plane, and the fire extinguished, within five minutes according to airport officials.
Those taken to hospital had minor injuries, mostly caused by sliding down inflatable chutes to escape, and have all been released following treatment.
An airport spokesman said: “All passengers were evacuated quickly and safely and taken by bus to the terminal.
“We cannot express enough gratitude to the emergency response crews, as well as the British Airways crew.”
British Airways said it would be organising alternative flights for the passengers, and had provided them with accommodation.”
An investigation has been launched into the incident.
The general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association, Jim McAuslan, praised the “professional way the pilots and crew dealt with this emergency situation”.
He added: “A pilot could go through their whole career without dealing with an incident like this but if it happens all the training and time in the simulator pays off.”