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British Airways plane catches fire on Las Vegas runway

British Airways plane catches fire on Las Vegas runway-

An engine on a London-bound British Airways jet caught fire Tuesday while the
plane was preparing to take off from Las Vegas, shooting flames from the side of
the jet and forcing passengers to escape on emergency slides.

Billowing black smoke and orange flames could be seen pouring from under the
plane's wings, sending passengers fleeing quickly from the aircraft and across
the tarmac before about 50 firefighters doused the aircraft in minutes.

All 159 passengers and 13 crew members aboard Flight 2276 were able to get
off the plane, McCarran International Airport spokesman Chris Jones said.

Fire officials said 14 people were taken to Sunrise Hospital by early Tuesday
evening for minor injuries, most a result of sliding down the inflatable chutes
to escape.

The Federal Aviation Administration delayed flights to Las Vegas from some
airports for more than two hours after the fire to slow the flow of planes while
the disabled Boeing 777 made two of the airport's four runways inaccessible. One
of the runways reopened about 2½ hours after the fire.

In this photo taken from a plane's window, smoke billows
from the British Airways jet that caught fire at McCarren International Airport
on Tuesday in Las Vegas. (Eric Hays/Associated Press)
Reggie Bügmüncher, of Philadelphia, said she was charging her phone and
waiting at a gate for her flight when she heard people saying, "Oh, my God." She
looked out the window and could see "bursts of flames coming out of the middle
of the plane."

"Everyone ran to the windows and people were standing on their chairs,
looking out, holding their breath with their hands over their mouths,"
Bügmüncher said.

The plane's emergency slides were deployed a few moments later and passengers
quickly got off the plane. She said it was a "bit more orderly" than she would
have expected given the dramatic nature of the fire and smoke.

Firefighters stationed at the airport reached the plane two minutes after
getting reports of flames, and within another three minutes, everyone inside the
plane had escaped.

After firefighters extinguished the flames, emergency vehicles could be seen
surrounding the aircraft, which was left a sooty gray from the smoke and fire
retardant.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the left engine of
the twin-engine plane caught fire. The National Transportation Safety Board was
collecting information about the incident, said Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the
agency in Washington.

Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Jon Klassen said the cause of the fire wasn't
clear yet, but the fire didn't appear to breach the cabin.

The Boeing 777-200, popular with airlines for its fuel efficiency for
long-haul flights, was bound for Gatwick Airport near London.

In its 21-year history, the 777-200 has been involved in two fatal crashes,
one in July 2013 that killed three passengers when an Asiana Airlines flight
landed short of San Francisco International Airport's runway, and the Malaysia
Airlines flight that disappeared last year and was only recently recovered.

British Airways spokeswoman Caroline Titmuss didn't answer questions about
the incident in an email exchange but said "safety is always our priority."

Titmuss said in an email that the airline was "looking after customers" but
didn't elaborate. She said the airline would release more information later.

Las Vegas's airport is the ninth-busiest in the U.S, used by nearly 43
million passengers last year. The airport has been taking steps to accommodate
more international travellers seeking direct flights to Europe and Asia,
including adding new gates to accommodate wide-body double-decker jets.
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