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Spirit Airlines says New Jersey jet fire caused by 'large bird' flying into engine

Passengers appeared to leave the plane using an emergency slide, video posted online appeared to show.
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Passengers were taken off a Spirit Airlines plane in New Jersey on Saturday evening after a jet fire forced the pilots to abort takeoff.

A flight that was meant to take off from Atlantic City International Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was accelerating when "what is believed to be a large bird" flew through the engine and caused the fire, Spirit Airlines said in a statement.

"The captain braked safely, received an indication of damage to the engine, and ordered an evacuation in accordance with our standard procedures," the airline said. "All Guests and Team Members evacuated the aircraft and were bussed back to the terminal."

Travelers were given full refunds and travel vouchers for future travel, with the option of flying on later flights to Florida.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the incident and said it was investigating.

Video posted online by The Lakewood Scoop, a local news website, appeared to show passengers leaving the plane through an inflatable slide out the door. The slides are deployed for emergency evacuations under airline safety regulations.