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Shocking moment plane engine catches fire before takeoff at Chicago airport

Simon Calder’s Travel

A terrifying incident unfolded at Chicago O’Hare Airport this week when a plane engine caught fire on the runway moments before takeoff.

A United Airlines Airbus 320 had careened onto the runway at around 2pm on Monday for a flight from Chicago to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport when smoke and flames suddenly started to billow from one of the aircraft’s wings, United said in a statement.

The Federal Aviation Administration told various outlets that the engine had caught fire, prompting takeoff to be cancelled and the airport to temporarily stop operations, leaving incoming planes to circle overhead, ABC7 reported.

Shocking cellphone video taken by a passenger at a window seat on the aircraft captured the dark smoke coming out from inside and under the wing.

“I felt the impact on my window,” Ivan Paloalto, who witnessed the nerve-wracking moment inside the aircraft, told Storyful.

“As I looked, the engine was on fire, and smoke was coming out.”

The plane was towed back to the airport gate, where passengers deplaned. Around 45 minutes later, airport operations resumed, allowing arrivals on other planes to land in Chicago safely, United said.

No injuries were reported however the fire department and medical personnel met passengers coming off the aircraft out of an abundance of caution.

A United Airlines Airbus passenger jet at Newark Liberty International Airport (stock image)
A United Airlines Airbus passenger jet at Newark Liberty International Airport (stock image) (Reuters)

United Airlines said that all 148 passengers were then put onto a different plane to continue their journey to Seattle with minimal delays.

By 5.30pm that day, there were no major delays reported at Chicago O’Hare, CBS News said.

The Independent has contacted United Airlines and the FAA for further comment.

Memorial Day weekend saw record air travel, with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening 2.95 million airline passengers on Friday, the highest number ever on a single day, Reuters reported.

However, the busy period also saw weather disruptions across parts of the country, with severe storms and tornadoes pummeling the central US states on Saturday and Sunday.

On Monday evening, JFK International Airport issued a brief ground stop due to the risk of thunderstorms.

The incident on board the Airbus plane comes as the company has seen a clear sales lead this month over Boeing, outpacing its main competitor for five years…

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