Why Was This Plane on Fire at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport?

November 9, 2015

By now everyone will have heard about the plane on fire at the Ft. Lauderdale airport not long ago. Questions surrounding the cause and the effectiveness of the evacuation procedures persist. Of the 101 people on the plane at take-off, 21 were reportedly injured in the airplane accident.

“This was a few seconds away from a disaster,” said Mary Schiavo, CNN’s aviation analyst. Luckily, the pilot was able to stop the plane just before lift-off. “Had they reached a speed of 160 mph … on that runway, they would have had to lift off, and they would have been a danger to not only … everyone on the plane (who) could have been lost, but the people over whose heads they were flying,” added Schiavo.

What Caused the Plane to Catch Fire?

The Boeing 767 was destined for Venezuela before a fuel leak started a fire in the middle of take-off. Investigators are not yet sure exactly where the fuel leak specifically originated or who may be at fault.

Some speculate that the leak simply went unnoticed, which could mean that someone ignored aviation training by not walking around the aircraft looking for obvious leaks. Others feel that the fuel line could have been cut by shrapnel following an engine explosion.

Was the Evacuation Safely Conducted?

Another CNN aviation analyst has questioned some of the decisions made during the evacuation process.

“No. 1, the forward left slide was deployed. That … shouldn’t be the procedure (because) that’s the side where the fire is,” he said. Obviously, you don’t want passengers to be going down an escape slide through smoke and fire. Also, another slide on the side of the plane was never deployed even though the door was open.

The FAA is responsible for ensuring that each airline is operating at the highest standards to avoid safety issues.

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