Plane catches fire while taxiing at Fla. airport

/ Source: The Associated Press

Flames shot from an airliner’s engine Tuesday as the plane was taxiing to a runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, officials said.

None of the 138 people on the Airbus A320 was injured, said airport spokesman Steve Belleme.

The fire was put out by emergency workers, and the passengers stayed aboard the aircraft while it returned to a gate, Belleme said. He said the incident shut down the airport’s main runway for about 20 minutes.

The plane, operated by United Airlines’ discount carrier Ted, was headed to the runway for an 8:29 a.m. flight to Washington, D.C. Its passengers were being put on other flights, said Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman for United Airlines, a unit of UAL Corp.

The problem was caused by a part of the engine called a compressor, she said.

“It’s similar to when a car backfires,” McCarthy said.

Similar incidents have occurred before, she said. Maintenance work was scheduled for the engine, she said.