A British Airways flight from Las Vegas to London Gatwick was aborted yesterday following a ’catastrophic failure’ of the aircraft’s port engine.
British Airways state that its GE90-85B-powered Boeing 777-200 experienced a technical issue as it was preparing for take-off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas resident and BA2276 passenger Karen Bravo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the aircraft was on the runway when two ’booming noises’ were heard.
Another passenger, Guardian journalist Jacob Steinberg, took to social media to reveal that the aircraft came to a ‘crashing halt’ before all 157 passengers were evacuated. A small number of passengers and crew sustained injuries and were taken to hospital.
A further Tweet from Steinberg describes the pilot referring to there being a ’catastrophic failure of the engine’.
According to McCarran International Airport’s Twitter feed airport fire crews had extinguished the ensuing fire by 1622 local time, and runway 7L, which was closed by the incident, had reopened by 0001 this morning.
A BA spokeswoman told The Engineer that the accident would now be investigated by the US National Transportation Safety Board.
Commenting on the incident, Dr Colin Brown, director of engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The immediate focus will be to look after the customers who were on the flight due to travel to London Gatwick Airport. Thankfully the evacuation process went to plan and was swift with very few injuries.
“The key for the aircraft is to protect the damaged areas to retain as much forensic evidence as possible. It is still too early to have a full set of answers. We will have to wait for a full investigation. How long this will take remains to be seen but safety recommendations can be issued in the interim.
“Early speculation is that an engine failure was the cause of the fire but it would be wrong to jump to any conclusions.
“Air travel remains one of the safest forms of transport. Regular maintenance of these aircraft occur to ensure safety and airworthiness. Even at this difficult time it is important to remember that the procedures established over many years worked well on this occasion resulting in no loss of life.”