The British Airways flight bound for London Gatwick was loaded with passengers on the tarmac at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas
Terrified travelers on other flights captured the plumes of smoke coming from the Boeing 777
A plane packed with passengers has burst into flames on a Las Vegas runway just moments before it was set to take off.
The British Airways flight bound for London Gatwick was taxiing on the tarmac at McCarran Airport on Tuesday night when it suddenly caught fire after a catastrophic engine failure.
Terrified travelers on other flights captured the plumes of smoke coming from the Boeing 777 as those on board were forced to jump down the evacuation slides and run away from the blaze. The plane was quickly evacuated, with only two people taken to a local hospital for treatment after suffering minor injuries.There were 159 passengers and 13 crew members on board at the time. According to preliminary information, the plane experienced a left engine fire on takeoff, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration's Pacific Division. One runway was shut but flights continued to depart on remaining runways as paramedics treated those caught up in the fire. Jacob Steinberg, a football and tennis writer who was on the flight, Tweeted: ‘Just evacuated on a British Airways flight at Las Vegas airport after an engine caught fire. Don’t think anyone hurt.‘Could smell and see smoke but was on other side of plane. One person said fire melted a couple of windows.'They opened the back door and slide went down and smoke started coming in plane, followed by mad dash to front. A lot of panic.'He added that the pilot then addressed passengers and told them there had been a spectacular engine failure.As he spoke the crowd in front of him applauded. Some passengers managed to grab their bags as they fled from the cabin.
Stills from a video show the evacuation slides deployed at each end of the plane as the smoke rises
Kent Winter who was on a Delta flight from LAX told the Daily Mail Online his flight was forced to pull up just before it landed.
He said nobody on-board his flight was informed of what was going on the pilot said on the intercom: 'It looks like someone blew a tire on the runway'.Around 10 minutes later, when they finally landed, they realized the full extent of what had happened.
All of the passengers were being evaluated for any injuries and have been given water.
The Boeing 777-220 has 225 seats. It is the same design of the Malaysian Airways Flight 370 which vanished last year.
A spokesman for British Airways told the Daily Mail Online: 'Safety is always our priority.
'We are looking after customers after an incident involving flight BA2276 due to travel from Las Vegas to London Gatwick Airport on September 8, 2015.
'British Airways will release more information as soon as possible.'
A spokesman from Boeing said they were looking into the incident.
One side of the plane was damaged in the fire. The evacuation slides are still deployed
Firefighters stand by a plane that caught fire at McCarren International Airport
The long-range jumbo jet has helped connect cities at the far ends of the globe, with flights as long as 16 hours.
The first fatal crash in its 19-year history only came in July 2013 when an Asiana Airlines jet landed short of the runway in San Francisco. Three of the 307 people aboard died.
Airlines like the plane because it is capable of flying extremely long distances thanks to two giant engines.
Each engine is so massive that a row of at least five coach seats could fit inside it. By having just two engines, the plane burns through less fuel than four-engine jets, like the Boeing 747, which it has essentially replaced.
Malaysia Airlines did have an incident in August 2005 with a 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's largest city.
While flying 38,000 feet (11,580 meters) above the Indian Ocean, the plane's software incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, causing the plane to suddenly shoot up 3,000 feet (915 meters).
The pilot disengaged the autopilot and descended and landed safely back in Perth. A software update was quickly made on planes around the world
Firefighters stand atop a ladder next to the doors of the plane that caught fire
Casinos along the Las Vegas Strip can be seen behind the aircraft that suffered a massive engine failure
The Mandalay Bay hotel and the pyramid of the Luxor are seen on the horizon at one end of the strip
The plane was quickly evacuated and only two people were injured and taken to hospital
Fire fighters rushed to the scene after the passengers were evacuated to put out the fire