back to top

Plane Bursts Into Flames At Chicago O'Hare Airport; 20 Injured

An American Airlines plane was seen on the airport's runway with a large plume of smoke billowing from it. Officials said 20 people suffered minor injuries.

Originally posted on
Updated on

An American Airlines plane carrying 170 people burst into flames Friday afternoon on a runway at Chicago's O'Hare airport, causing injuries as panicked passengers evacuated the plane.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the fire erupted after American Airlines Flight 383 blew a tire at 2:35 p.m. The pilots then aborted takeoff and the passengers exited the plane on emergency inflatable slides.

American Airlines told BuzzFeed News in a statement that the pilots "aborted take off due to an engine-related mechanical issue."

The flight had been scheduled to travel from Chicago to Miami.

I am at O'Hare Airport and this is not good. Thoughts and prayers.

The airline said 161 passengers and 9 crew were onboard the Boeing 767.

Emergency officials said 20 people were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries including bruises and ankle injuries sustained in the evacuation of the plane.

Passenger Sarah Ahmed told WLS-TV the plane was "almost up in the air, we were full throttle, full speed ahead and we heard this huge bang." Ahmed said she witnessed flames "right up against the window and it was melting the window," and the ensuing evacuation was chaotic.

"Today I thought was the day I was going to die," Ahmed said, adding that "today my life flashed in front of me."

Images shared from the scene showed flames rising above the plane as people evacuated on inflatable slides.

The fire prompted the FAA to impose a ground stop at O'Hare.

@nbcchicago airplane engine caught on fire at ohare!

Passenger Hector Cardenas told WLS there was a "huge explosion on the right side of the plane." Cardenas described "commotion" during the evacuation and said he was "being pushed aggressively" toward the exit.

Cardenas could be heard coughing during his interview with WLS. He said that passengers initially congregated on the runway, and later were loaded into a bus where they waited for more than an hour.

Images of the scene showed extensive damage to the plane, including what appeared to be a melted wing.

Picture of the MELTED American 767 wing at O'Hare right now. Aluminum melts at 1200F.

The FAA is investigating the incident.

American Airlines said in its statement that it is "taking care of our customers and crew members and are re-accommodating our passengers on another flight to Miami this evening."

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates and follow @BuzzFeedNews on Twitter.

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at jim.dalrymple@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.