By Staff Writer:
A Spirit Airlines plane caught fire on the runway of the Atlantic City Airport Saturday, forcing the evacuationof more than 100 passengers and crew, according to airport and airline officials.
Spirit Airlines flight 3044 from Atlantic City to Fort Lauderdale was accelerating for takeoff when it hit what airline officials believe was a large bird, the airline said in a statement.
“The captain braked safely and brought the plane to a stop, received an indication of damage to the engine, and ordered an evacuation in accordance with our standard procedures,” Spirit said in the statement.
The incident happened at approximately 5:49 p.m., according to the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which owns and operates the airport. All 109 people on board, including 102 passengers and seven crew members, were safely evacuated. Two people reported minor injuries, the authority said in a statement.
The airport was closed Saturday evening as National Transportation Safety Board officials and the Federal Aviation Administration investigated, the authority said.
The passengers will receive refunds and a future travel voucher as well as the option to take a different flight to Florida, according to Spirit.