WASHINGTON: A US Airways plane blew a tire during takeoff late Thursday from Philadelphia’s airport, though officials reported no serious injuries.
The airline said the pilot of Flight 1702 aborted takeoff for Fort Lauderdale due to the tire problem.
“Passengers were safely evacuated & we are reaccommodating passengers on a new aircraft, scheduled to depart later this evening,” US Airways said on its Twitter account.
Media reported that one person aboard suffered minor injuries. The flight had initially been scheduled to take off from Philadelphia at 5:50 pm (2150 GMT) and arrive in Fort Lauderdale at 8:42 pm (0042 GMT), according to the airline’s website.
A witness sitting in an airport terminal reported on the online travel blog flyertalk.com seeing the place “bounce twice on takeoff.”
“Front gear collapsed, sparks on the runway, it then skid out of my line of sight. Light white smoke visible for about 7-10 min afterwards,” added the user, writing under the handle phlwookie.
Images posted on Twitter showed the plane’s nose to the ground though the aircraft remained upright. The emergency slides were deployed.
“So my plane just crashed,” passenger Hannah Udren wrote on the social media platform. “I almost just died.”
A photo by Will Jager posted by Twitter user Charles Davis showed passengers on the ground taking pictures of the pitched plane and selfies with the aircraft in the background.
Philadelphia International Airport authorities, also using Twitter, said: “Nose gear of plane collapsed on runway. The incident is under investigation. All passengers safely evacuated. No reported injuries.
“A big KUDOS to our emergency response team who responded to the aircraft emergency tonight for getting all our passengers evacuated safely!” it added.
The airport said the incident caused delays of up to two hours for passengers of other flights.