• A large bird flew into one of the engines as the plane was accelerating to take off
  • All the passengers were evacuated safely from the aircraft
  • Emergency crew were able to extinguish the fire, which caused damage to the engine

A Spirit Airlines flight from Atlantic City to Fort Lauderdale caught on fire after a “large bird” flew into one of its engines during acceleration for takeoff.

The incident occurred while flight 3044 prepared to fly at the Atlantic City International Airport around 5.49 p.m. Saturday.

Soon after the bird hit the engine and caused significant damage, the flight captain hit the brakes and brought the plane to a stop, WPVI reported. He immediately ordered a passenger evacuation as the plane came to a standstill.

As the engine engulfed in flames, passengers were seen evacuating the aircraft on a slide. The evacuation slides are deployed in emergency situations as per standard airlines safety regulations, according to NBC News.

The plane crew was able to safely evacuate its 102 passengers. However, two people suffered minor injuries, according to authorities.

Later, in a tweet, the New Jersey governor confirmed the safe evacuation of all passengers.

All passengers were taken back to the airport and offered a full refund. "Our guests will receive full refunds, a future travel voucher, and the option of travelling to Fort Lauderdale on another plane tonight," the airline said in a statement, reported the outlet.

Videos and images of the incident shared on social media, showed a plume of black smoke coming out of one of the engines as the plane taxied down the runway.

“We commend our crew for handling the situation swiftly and safely,” added the airlines.

Following the incident, the airport was closed for several hours for investigation. The emergency crew extinguished the fire and left the plane stranded on the runway for further investigation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board also ran a joint investigation on the accident.

According to a report by FAA, wildlife or bird strikes have increased significantly over the years and pose a significant threat to human lives and flight safety. The number of strikes has increased from 1,800 in 1990 to 16,000 in 2018, reported the agency.

Earlier this year, a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing at the Denver airport after one of its engines caught on fire mid-flight. All the crew members and passengers were able to evacuate the plane safely and without any injury.

Spirit Airlines
A Spirit Airlines plane is parked on the tarmac as another Spirit Airlines passenger aircraft taxis after landing at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dec. 12, 2018. Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images