The Federal Aviation Administration said the Dynamic Airways plane that caught fire Thursday on a Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport taxiway, sending 21 people to the hospital, had no previous incidents or issues.
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergan said Friday the plane is a Boeing 767/269 manufactured in 1986 and owned by Utah-based airplane leasing company KMW Leasing in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Meanwhile, during a news conference Friday morning, Fort Lauderdale airport director Kent George said flames never entered the cabin when the plane caught fire while taxiing for takeoff to Venezuela with 110 people on board. Passengers exited the plane on inflatable slides and ran onto the tarmac.
George said 45 to 60 gallons of fuel leaked onto the taxiway, damaging asphalt. Repairs are ongoing and should be completed by Friday evening or Saturday. No major delays are expected during the repair process, officials said.
The National Transportation Safety Board has launched a major investigation into what caused the plane to catch fire Thursday afternoon. Airport officials have also called in a contractor to inspect the taxiway to assess whether any damage was caused during the fire.
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Authorities said the pilot of Dynamic Airways flight 405 reported an engine fire around 12:30 p.m. ET Thursday while the Boeing 767 was taxiing for departure the airport's north runway.
"I was actually like reading on my iPad. I heard like a bump, and I heard people screaming, running to the front," passenger David Magro said. "I turn around and look in the window and it's like flames all over the turbine of the plane."
An aircraft traveling behind it reported fuel was leaking from the plane before the fire started, according to Federal Aviation Administration. Smoke was billowing from the plane before firefighters doused it with foam.
"I heard a loud bang, turned around, saw the lights, saw flames," said Andres Gallego, who was in seat 12A. "He opened the door, let the chute out, the chute opened to the side where the flames were."
All flights in and out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport were suspended, according to Broward County Aviation Department spokesperson Greg Meyer. The incident led to 43 canceled flights and another 226 delays, officials said.
Don Dodson, director of operations at Dynamic International, released the following statement regarding the incident:
On behalf of Dynamic International Airways, I want to express my sincere Concern to the friends and families of the passengers on board Flight DYA405.
DYA405 consisted of 88 Adults and 2 children. The crew compliment was 11. The experience of the Captain and F/O were 15700 and 4140 hours respectively. The actions of the cabin safety trained cabin crew were exemplary. The recovery flight for flight 405 and return 406 is scheduled for this evening departing FLL at 2000.
Our primary focus right now is to provide support for the passengers who are in the airport and for those who are being medically treated.
We are also in the process of dispatching a team to assist the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation. We will not speculate on the cause of the accident and are committed to fully cooperating with the NTSB and other authorities.
We have activated our Family Assistance Plan and have established a special toll-free number. Family members of passengers who may have been on board Flight DYA405 may contact 1 (888) 283-2157 or 262-226-8787 for more information.
Dynamic International Airways has a lead delegate Joseph Schoofs to liaise with passengers, additional executive management will be onsite by 2000 this evening.
We will provide additional updates via our website: www.airdynamic.com
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