21 Hospitalized in Fort Lauderdale Airport Plane Fire
Written by JT on October 31, 2015
Both runways have reopened at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after a plane bound for Caracas, Venezuela, caught fire Thursday afternoon, sending 21 people to the hospital, authorities said.
Airport officials said the aircraft has been removed from the site and relocated to the western portion of the airport. The north runway reopened around 7:45 p.m
A spokesperson for Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue said one of the victims suffered serious injuries after he tripped and fell, hitting his head as he ran from the plane. He was listed in serious but stable condition.
Of the 21 people injured, 19 have since been released from Broward Health Medical Center. Two were admitted and will be held overnight.
“We have admitted two patients to the floor who will be staying overnight, one in ICU and one in another level of care,” said Colleen McCrory with Broward Health.
A total of 101 passengers were on board the plane and evacuated by sliding onto the runway, officials said.
“Many of them were injured just from going down the ramp, people kind of piled up so there were minor injuries, sprains and abrasions,” said Dr. Julie Phillips, emergency room physician.
“The fire was extinguished very quickly; the plane was evacuated,” Mike Jachles with Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue said.
Authorities said the pilot of Dynamic Airways flight 405 reported an engine fire around 12:30 p.m. ET 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. The delays were not expected to spill over into Friday.
Meyer said the Broward County Aviation Department is working with the airport to reunite the passengers with their belongings left behind during the aircraft evacuation.
Passengers were originally sent to Terminal 1, but were soon put onto “co-buses” and sent to the Family Assistance Area in Terminal 4, which Meyer said is a secure area blocked off to the public. An emergency contact line for passengers and their relatives has been set up at 888-283-2157.