A British Airways Boeing 777 has been evacuated at Las Vegas’s McCarran Airport after an engine caught fire.
Fourteen people are believed to have been injured as they used inflatable slides to exit the aircraft.
The incident was reported at 4.13pm local time yesterday (11.13pm GMT), and all 159 passengers and 13 crew were evacuated by 4.18pm.
Take-off was aborted after a fire broke out in the aircraft’s left engine, and fire crews were immediately called.
The pilot is understood to have told passengers that the aircraft suffered “catastrophic engine failure”.
The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, and all passengers were taken to a local hotel until a replacement aircraft is sourced.
Jacob Steinberg, a Guardian journalist who was on board the plane, tweeted: “Was asleep as the plane took off. Came to a crashing halt. Smell of smoke. Initially told to stay seated, then shout of evacuate.”
He later added: “Could smell and see smoke but was on other side of plane. One person said fire melted a couple of windows.”
BA said: “The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority, and we are looking after those who were on board the BA2276 from Las Vegas to London Gatwick following an incident on Tuesday.
“The aircraft, a 777-200 experienced a technical issue as it was preparing for take-off from McCarran international airport in Las Vegas.
“Our crew evacuated the aircraft safely and the fire was quickly extinguished by the emergency services at the airport.
“157 customers were on board the flight, along with three pilots and 10 cabin crew.
“A small number of customers and our crew have been taken to hospital.
“All customers have been provided with hotel accommodation, and our colleagues are helping them with anything further they require.”
British Airline Pilots’ Association general secretary, Jim McAuslan, said: “While we await a meticulous investigation to help us understand this fire and prevent it happening again, all pilots will want to recognise the professional way the pilots and crew dealt with this emergency situation.
“Pilots take their personal responsibility for the safety and comfort of passengers extremely seriously and train relentlessly to deal with this kind of rare event.
“Pilots are trained to prepare for things not going to plan throughout every single flight so that they are able to make split-second decisions and keep passengers safe.
“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.”
BA set up emergency phone lines for friends or family on 0800 389 4191 in the UK and 1 800 654 3246 from the US.
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