British Airways passengers, crew escape blazing plane in Las Vegas

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A British Airways jetliner engine caught fire in Las Vegas as the plane was about to take off for London, forcing all 172 passengers and crew to escape down emergency slides as smoke and flames engulfed the aircraft.

Several passengers needed hospital treatment for minor injuries after the Boeing (BA.N) 777’s aborted takeoff on Tuesday, with one of those present saying smoke caused people to rush to the front of the plane, sparking scenes of panic.

General Electric (GE.N) said the plane was powered by two of its GE90 engines. Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Pacific Division said the plane’s left engine had burst into flames on takeoff.

“Mayday, Mayday, Speedbird 2276 request fire services,” one of the pilots is heard saying calmly in a British accent on an audio clip posted online. “We are evacuating on the runway, we have a fire, I repeat, we are evacuating.”

Video and photographs from the scene showed the wide-body jet engulfed in flames and thick black smoke at McCarran International Airport. The plane was carrying 159 passengers and 13 crew members.