Spirit Airlines plane catches fire after bird strikes one of its engines during take-off

FILE: A Spirit Airlines commercial plane is seen taxing the tarmac at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan (AFP via Getty Images)

A Spirit Airlines flight caught fire after a bird struck one of its engines during take-off at Atlantic City airport New Jersey.

The incident occurred on Saturday when Flight 3044, bound for Fort Lauderdale, was forced to stop after accelerating down the runway.

An airline spokesperson said the plane stopped before leaving the ground after a “large bird entered one of the plane’s engines.”

The plane was eventually brought to a standstill and 102 passengers and seven crew members were evacuated. Two people on board were reportedly injured.

A video shot inside the airport and circulating on social media showed plumes of smoke coming out of the plane.

Another video showed passengers exiting the plane via an inflatable slide, usually deployed for emergency evacuations.

“The captain safely braked and brought the aircraft to a stop, received an indication of engine damage and ordered an evacuation in accordance with our standard procedures,” the airline said in a statement.

The passengers were returned by bus to the terminal and received a full refund, a future travel voucher and the option to board another flight to Fort Lauderdale.

The fire was extinguished and the aircraft was left on the runway for investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport was closed shortly after the incident for several hours.

Governor of New Jersey Phil murphy, in a tweet, said the government was “closely monitoring” the plane incident.

“All passengers and crew were successfully evacuated from the aircraft and no serious injuries were reported,” he wrote.

Earlier in September, a Spirit Airlines flight departing from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas had to stop seconds before takeoff due to a “maintenance problem”.

According to reports, the pilots suddenly applied the brakes, abruptly stopping the jet. The aircraft then suffered a puncture as it was taxiing to the departure gate.

The airline company had canceled more than 2,800 flights between July 30 and August 9, reporting poor weather conditions, staff shortages and technical problems, affecting hundreds of passengers.

The chaos that ensued at airports after cancellations cost the airline nearly $ 50 million in revenue, the low-cost carrier said.

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