An American Airlines plane full of passengers went up in flames at O’Hare International Airport Friday afternoon. According to officials, the plane had a serious mechanical issue, causing part of the plane to catch on fire on the tarmac, forcing the passengers to evacuate by the emergency chutes. Debris from the plane during the malfunction was as far as a half mile.
A spokesperson for American Airlines said the plane malfunction was caused by an engine-related mechanical issue. The plane aborted takeoff around 2:35 p.m. and the 161 passengers and nine crew evacuated on the runway. It remains unclear what type of injuries occurred, but at least six ambulances were called to the scene. 20 people were taken to hospitals with injuries sustained during the evacuation. The tarmac has been closed while the FAA investigates the incident. The incident caused many delays at O’Hare.
A spokesperson for American Airlines stated that the 161 passengers and nine crew members were safely brought back to the terminal. Witnesses at O’Hare posted photos and videos of the fiery scene and terrified passengers. Officials say the malfunction is rare but extremely serious. One of the engines failed and caught fire spewing debris across the south side runway. Officials say parts of the engine were found a half mile away on a UPS building.
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