29 Oct 2016

Passengers flee blaze after plane catches fire in Chicago

4:34 pm on 29 October 2016

Passengers on an American Airlines jet had to evacuate down emergency chutes after an engine caught fire at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport today.

American Airlines Flight 383 catches fire at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Passengers slid down emergency chutes after American Airlines Flight 383 caught fire at Chicago's O'Hare airport. Photo: Youtube

No serious injuries have been reported.

American Airlines said the Boeing 767 was bound for Miami with 161 passengers and nine crew when the flight was aborted.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the crew reported a blown-out tire as the plane was rolling down the runway .

A fire was not mentioned, but television footage showed flames and large clouds of black smoke billowing from one side of the aircraft.

Flight 383 was headed down an O'Hare runway at about 2:30pm local time when the right-side engine of the twin-engine jet burst into flames.

Television footage showed the plane with flames and clouds of black smoke billowing from its right side and emergency slides on the left side.

Passengers milled about watching the blaze as fire trucks pumped water on the flames.

Could have been much worse

An airport spokesperson said the mishap could have been much worse.

He said the plane was fully loaded with 19,504 kg of jet fuel, which was leaking when fire crews reached the jet.

"So they had a heavy volume of fire on both the engine and the entire wing," Timothy Sampey said. "This could have been absolutely devastating if it happened later."

Mr Sampey confirmed the incident began with a fire in the left-side engine.

The Federal Aviation Administration initially said the pilot aborted takeoff after reporting a blown-out tyre.

The airline said seven passengers and one flight attendant were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Inside the aircraft, frantic passengers shouted at each other to hurry while making their way down the aisle to an emergency exit slide.

The incident forced the closure of at least three of the airport's eight runways.

A wing tip is seen flying through the air above the FedEx cargo plane which caught fire at Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

A wing tip shoots above smoke billowing from the FedEx cargo plane at Fort Lauderdale. Photo: Youtube

Cargo plane explodes in Florida

Just hours earlier, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the landing gear of a FedEx cargo plane collapsed, sparking a fire and explosion that badly damaged the aircraft.

The company later said the FedEx pilots were safe.

Earlier, in the first of a series of airplane accidents in the United States, a campaign plane carrying the Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence skidded off the runway at New York's La Guardia Airport.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump's running mate said he was fine, but there were about "10 seconds of uncertainty."

"We're just so grateful to the pilots and to the first responders on the scene and (that) everybody came off the plane safely."

None of the 48 people on board were injured in the rough landing.