Transcript for British Airways Engine Failure Ignites Fire Onboard Plane
last night? It went three sets and now now, earl quarter this morning we got up to see that plane up close. You can still see the smoke smudging the fuselage. Now, Ba calling this a technical issue but the pilot credited with saving 170 lives called it something different. A catastrophic failure. Speedbird 2276 heavy, we are evacuating on the runway. We have a fire. I repeat, we are evacuating. Reporter: This morning the scramble to explain why this jetliner turned foo a fireball. Mayday, mayday, speedbird, 2276 request fire services. Speedbird, 2276 heavy fire services are on the way rfrjts flight 2276 bound for London bursting into flames on the runway in Las Vegas. You can see them here scrambling to safety. What we had here was an uncontained explosion of a jet engine on takeoff roll and that means it came apart catastrophically creating fire and the necessity for the flight crew to stop the airplane on the runway and get everybody off the airplane. Reporter: 157 passengers and 13 crew aboard the 777 starting its takeoff with a belly fuel of fuel. More than a dozen were injured but all of them were in mortal danger. Experts tell ABC news a mechanical failure could have caused the engine to come apart spitting out fire and pieces of hot metal which in turn could have sparked a separate fire in the cargo hold. Quick thinking crew helped the passengers flop down the emergency slides to the tarmac. Is everybody okay? We jumped down. You could see the flames and smoke and that's when it sort of hit me anyway it was pretty scary. Reporter: Survival instinct kicking in with this mother. It was so instinct, literally it was fight or flight and I just jumped. I couldn't even say I felt anything. That's how fast it happened. Reporter: Friar crews sprang to the scene and bystanders, even passengers on other planes watch in horror. That billowing column of black easily visible from offices a mile away. The fire paralyzing the airport. Now, the airport has re-opened the runway. Can you probably hear the plane above me and Ba is saying it's going to try to get those passengers back home as quickly as possible and while investigators begin their work, what is clear is had that plane taken off on fire this would have been a very different story. Robin. You're right about that. Thank you. ABC news aviation consultant colonel Stephen ganyard joins us from Washington. Give us more details on what happened here, Steve. Good morning, robin. Very interesting because what happened is early in this takeoff roll as the airplane ras running down the runway only going 90 miles an hour we say it was an uncontained engine failure. What that means is the engine really just exploded and it sent hot metal into the fuselage and started a fire in the fuselage itself so the fire you see in those pictures is really the airplane itself not the engine that's on fire and after they put the fire out you could see how clearly that fire came to almost penetrating into the cabin which meant this could have been a very serious, serious accident. Oh, absolutely. As Matt was saying, as well. You said they put the fire out quickly. They were on the scene like that and T Serena Williams just two wins away from becoming the first player since steffi Graf in 1988 to win the calendar grand slam and that hug with her sister at end. Beautiful. It was. I know, but they are truly each other's number one fans. They are. That was so evident. Choked me up. Same way. Yeah. We'll see a lot more of it coming up. We will begin with that to flames on
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