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Plane Catches Fire At Fort Lauderdale Int'l Airport

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It was terrifying moments for passengers aboard a flight from South Florida to Venezuela Thursday when one of the engines on their plane caught fire on the runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

According to Greg Meyer from FLL, an engine of the Boeing 767 caught fire as the plane was departing to Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela.

FAA investigators said Dynamic International Airways flight 405 apparently caught fire on Taxiway B while taxiing for departure from Runway 28, at about 12:45 p.m. An aircraft taxiing behind the plane reported that fuel was leaking from the aircraft before the fire started.

The 101 passengers on board evacuated via slides onto the taxiway.

Passengers described a harrowing scene. Some on board the flight described hearing a loud bang from the left engine while others simply saw the flames and smoke.

Sharon Segal said she was watching her 7-month-old son when she saw it.

"The baby was looking out the window and I say, 'Fire, fire. The plane is fire!'" she said.

She and her husband grabbed their two kids and even as the plane was still moving, headed for the exit. He left his shoes behind.

Recordings caught the terrifying moments as the pilot in the plane behind the Dynamic flight notified the tower of a problem.

"Dynamic out of the left engine looks like it's leaking fuel," the pilot said.

Seconds later, the fire broke out.

"Engine on fire," the tower call said. "Engine on fire. We're calling rescue right now."

Passengers said the flight crew responded calmly, deploying the chutes to get everyone to safety but it was frightening.

"It was pretty nerve wracking to know that the door wasn't opening and something was on fire," said passenger Andres Gallegos.

Passenger Daniella Magro relied on her older brother.

"I was freaking out," she said. "I was terrified. I had people in front of me and I started pushing people and he was like, calm down. We're all gonna get out of here. We're gonna be all safe."

The terrifying moments were caught on social media.

Twitter video and photos taken by passengers around the airport showed the thick black smoke billowing from the left side of the plane as the left engine burned.

Passengers from other planes began to tweet out pictures of the fire.

Firefighters, stationed at the airport, were quick to put out the flames using thick, white foam. CBS4 was told they responded within two minutes.

Plane Fire
Crews were able to extinguish a fire on a plane parked at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Oct. 29, 2015. (Source: CBS4)

Twenty-one people were taken to the hospital according to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles. One suffered burns that were not life-threatening while the rest suffered less serious injuries such as bumps, bruises and sprains.

The airport was partially reopened at 3:15 p.m. after being shutdown for about three hours and delayed more than 200 flights and led to the cancellation of 43 others.

By nightfall, airport crews moved the damaged plane as passengers wondered when they would get their luggage and items. Some vented their displeasure over the airline's handling of the situation.

"I'm not going to travel with them because I don't trust them anymore," said Jonathan Benlolo.

Airport officials said FAA investigators will arrive at the airport Friday morning to begin their investigation into how and why this happened.

CBS4 was told that arrangements are being made to get the passengers from the damaged plane to Caracas sometime Friday.

Dynamic Airways, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, is a newly launched discount airline that started daily service over the summer between Fort Lauderdale and Caracas.

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