Passengers were evacuated from a Spirit Airlines flight as they screamed in fear after an engine on the aircraft caught fire while hurtling down the runway on Saturday. Videos captured show the engine erupting in flames as passengers are being evacuated through the emergency exit of the plane.
The flight was meant to take off from Atlantic City International Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and was accelerating when "what is believed to be a large bird" flew through the engine and caused the fire, Spirit Airlines said in a statement. The flight was then forced to abort its takeoff. No casualties have been reported although some passengers were injured.
Photos and video posted on social media show the engine engulfed in flames as the aircraft slows to a stop on the runway. Passengers screamed in fears as they felt helpless and could only watch on in horror as flames spewed from the rear of the engine while they waited for instructions from the crew as to what to do next.
Additional video shows them taking an emergency exit ramp off the plane afterward as crews work to extinguish the fire. Those sitting by the windows could be heard screaming "fire!"
The airline crew, who also panicked, however, didn't lose their nerves as requested passengers to stay in their seats.
"Remain seated! Remain seated! Remain seated!" the crew begged.
"Holy s***!" yelled one woman. "Open this door and let us out now! C'mon," said another passenger.
"The captain braked safely, received an indication of damage to the engine, and ordered an evacuation in accordance with our standard procedures," the airline said. "All Guests and Team Members evacuated the aircraft and were bussed back to the terminal."
Although there were minor injuries and all passengers were reported safe, during the entire episode most started to rush and exit the airline, which could have been perilous had the crew not taken control of the situation on time.
The entire things happened because of a large bird getting stuck in the engine just when the aircraft was just about to takeoff and was gathering speed on the runway. "Evacuate! Evacuate! Evacuate! Right hand engine has caught on fire. We hit a bird on take off. Please avoid the right hand engine," instructed the captain.
Videos also showed many passengers reaching up into the overhead bins to retrieve their luggage prior to getting off the plane. However, things were under control once the evacuation process started. Video posted online by The Lakewood Scoop, a local news website, showed passengers leaving the plane through an inflatable slide out the door.
The passengers will be given full refunds, a future travel voucher and were given the option of traveling to Fort Lauderdale on another plane, the airline said.