Flames and billowing black smoke forced the pilot of a Miami-bound American Airlines flight to abort takeoff and 170 passengers and crew members to evacuate the flight on the tarmac of O’Hare International Airport Friday afternoon.
“The plane comes to a screeching stop,” passenger Sara Ahmed told WLS-TV. “People are yelling, ‘Open the door! Open the door!’ Everyone’s screaming and jumping on top of each other to open the door.”
Flight 383 was accelerating toward takeoff when an engine malfunction sparked flames on the Chicago airport’s tarmac. Of the Boeing 767’s 161 passengers and nine crew members, 20 people reported non-threatening injuries like scrapes and bruises. One reported chest pain, American Airlines spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello said.
All the injuries were related to exiting the chute — not from the fire, the spokeswoman said.
Videos of the incident show flames shooting out from the aircraft’s right side, under the wing. The drooping wing appeared to have been partially melted, according to Associated Press.
Passengers evacuated the plane on emergency slides on the runway and were bused back to the terminal. American Airlines made special arrangements to get the passengers to Miami Friday night, but would not reveal the details.
Preliminary reports said the flight also experienced a blown tire, but the airline denied the claim.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident, authorities said.
“American Airlines is fully cooperating with the National Transportation Safety board in its investigation,” the airline said in a statement.