HomeNewsWatch: Spirit Airlines Passenger Captures Bird Strike Engine Fire

Watch: Spirit Airlines Passenger Captures Bird Strike Engine Fire

by Jennifer Shea
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Passengers on the Spirit Airlines jet that caught fire on Saturday snagged some video of the fire from close-up.

The passengers, who watched the fire grow out the plane’s windows, can be heard yelling with increasing volume, “Fire!” Eventually, the plane rolls to a halt as a stewardess implores them to remain seated.

After a minute or so, fire crews arrive on the scene and the passengers begin to exit the plane.

Watch the video here:

Fire Sparked After a Bird Flew into One of the Spirit Airlines Plane’s Engines

The plane, Flight 3044 from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was supposed to take off at 5:36 p.m. Saturday. But it was delayed, and in the intervening minutes, a bird made the fateful decision to fly in its general direction.

As the plane was heading down the runway and about to take off, the large bird got sucked into one of the plane’s engines. Its body sparked a blaze, with the fire breaking out around 5:55 p.m.

The pilot quickly realized what was going on and brought the plane to a stop. After the plane stopped, airline officials evacuated the plane, Fox News reported. Spirit Airlines then ferried the passengers back to the terminal by bus. The passengers got a full refund and travel vouchers, along with an offer to take another flight to Florida that night.

Firefighters Put Out the Flames

Meanwhile, state officials, including the New Jersey governor, were keeping watch over the airport as the incident unfolded. The airport reportedly closed briefly but soon re-opened.

“We’re closely monitoring an aircraft incident that happened tonight at @ACYAirport,” Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Saturday evening. “All passengers and crew were successfully evacuated off the plane, and no serious injuries reported. The airport has reopened.”

After the passengers evacuated the Spirit Airlines plane, firefighters got to work. Atlantic City International Airport Fire Department fire crews were joined by colleagues from the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company, among others, in battling the blaze.

By 8:30 p.m., emergency crews were still responding to the fire, per The Press of Atlantic City.

Collisions between birds and airplanes are known as bird strikes, and they can be quite dangerous. They occur most often when planes are close to the runway. When birds get pulled into plane engines, they can collide with engine fan blades, setting off a domino effect that can lead to engine failure or, as was the case here, a fire.

Luckily for the humans on board, only the bird was injured by this particular bird strike.