At Las Vegas airport (Nevada), towards the end of the afternoon yesterday, Tuesday 8 September, the left engine of a British Airways’ Boeing 777 caught fire whilst the aircraft was still on the runway. The ‘plane, with 159 passengers and 13 crew on board, was preparing to take-off for London Gatwick. It was about 4:00 p.m. local time (23h00 GMT) on Tuesday 8th September, that the pilot sent an SOS.
According to the FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration) spokesman, the pilots had "interrupted the take-off process". The passengers were evacuated immediately by the evacuation slides and the fire was quickly extinguished. Several passengers were slightly injured in the panic, and eight were hospitalized, according to British Airways. More fright than harm done, although the consequences could have been much worse if the ‘plane had been in the process of actually taking-off.
Las Vegas airport, which has communicated via its twitter account, said traffic remained normal on the other three runways. The fourth runway, where the incident took place, was re-opened at midnight (local time). The American National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is to initiate an enquiry, because this type of incident is quite rare.