At approximately 4:23PM Pacific Daylight Time, a Boeing 777 owned and operated by British Airways caught fire at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.
According to the FAA, the fire began in the left engine when the aircraft was on its takeoff roll. Crash Fire Rescue personnel responded to the aircraft when it came to a halt on the runway and successfully put out the fire. One runway at McCarran remains closed as this time.
Flight 2276 was bound for Gatwick Airport in London, England, with 159 passengers and 13 crewmembers aboard at the time of the incident. According to officials at the scene, two people were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
“A fire aboard an aircraft is one of the most dire emergencies imaginable, especially if it is located in a place out of reach or one without fire protection systems,” says Jonathan Derden, an ATP-rated airline pilot with a major air carrier on the East Coast. “Fortunately, this incident happened on the ground and not in the air. The crew was able to reject the takeoff within seconds of the event, and then evacuate the aircraft expeditiously.”
Aircrew train specifically for situations like this in the simulator, honing their emergency procedures until they are automatic responses to given emergent criteria.
“I practice for this very scenario often,” Derden went on to say. “An uncontained engine failure and fire before V1 is a scary proposition, but a well-trained crew will handle it with aplomb–exactly as this crew from British Airways did.”
More on this story as it becomes available.
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