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Late Tuesday an engine on a London-bound British Airways jet suddenly caught fire while the plane was preparing for takeoff from Las Vegas, shooting flames from the side of the jet and forcing passengers to flee through emergency slides.  According to British Airways 157 passengers were on board Flight 2276 as well as 10 crew members and three pilots when the engine caught fire.

McCarran International Airport spokesman Chris Jones said that fortunately all were able to get off the plane.   Fire officials said early Tuesday evening 14 people were transported to Sunrise Hospital for minor injuries, most as a result of sliding down the inflatable chutes to escape.

Some flights to Las Vegas from certain airports were delayed by the Federal Aviation Administration for more than two hours after the fire to slow the traffic of planes while the burning Boeing 777 made two of the airport’s four runways inaccessible. One of the damaged runways reopened about 2 1/2 hours after the fire.

The plane’s emergency slides were deployed a few moments after the fire broke out and passengers quickly got off the plane. A passenger said the escape was a “bit more orderly” than she would have expected given the dramatic nature of the fire and smoke.

The airport has stationed firefighters that reached the plane two minutes after getting reports of fire, and within another three minutes, everyone inside the plane had escaped.  According to the Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the left engine of the twin-engine plane caught fire.

Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the agency in Washington said The National Transportation Safety Board was collecting information about the incident.  However, Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Jon Klassen said it isn’t clear what caused the fire yet, but the fire didn’t appear to breach the cabin.

The airline would release more information later.


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