A FedEx DC-10 cargo plane burst into flames after its landing gear collapsed while landing at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on a flight from Memphis. Both pilots ejected from the plan and no ground crew members were hurt as the fire was eventually extinguished, causing the airport to shut down for several hours.
Screen capture/CBS Miami/AOL
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A FedEx plane caught fire after landing at an airport in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, shutting down the airport for several hours.
The DC-10 flames sprouted from the rear left side of the plane after the landing gear collapsed as it arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport from Memphis, Tenn., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Emergency crews arrived at the scene around 6 p.m. as both the pilot and copilot evacuated from the plane using a rope ladder and no members of the ground crews were hurt, Mike Jachles of Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue told CNN.
"I think the pilot did a pretty good job of keeping it close to the runway, but of course you can see the ball of fire and with all that fuel, that was a pretty big explosion," former FAA safety director Stephen Lloyd told Local 10 News.
Flames could be seen emitting from the left side of the plane before it erupted into a large fireball.
"I watched the plane land and can tell you that it was on fire for at least 15 or 20 seconds prior to landing," passenger Jeff Foster told USA Today. "I don't know if it was on fire for longer than that because I saw the flames as soon as I saw the plane. Once the plane hit the ground the flames increased in intensity by probably five times so perhaps the pilots thought the fire started then."
Crews eventually managed to extinguish the fire, which caused damage to the airport's north runway.
The FAA reported a Ground stop at the airport, due to the disabled FedEx plane, causing delays and forcing about a dozen flights to be diverted to other airports.
The airport re-opened at 7 p.m. with only the south runway operating. No timetable for the north runway to re-open was set. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.