Jet catches fire while taxiing for take-off, 15 people injured

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Fifteen people were injured Thursday when a passenger jet caught fire while taxiing for takeoff at Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida, local fire and police department officials said.

Three of the injured people were transported to hospital, the local fire department said on Twitter. One was seriously burned, authorites said at a news conference.

The 767 Boeing jet was scheduled to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Caracas, Venezuela, when the fire broke out.

“An aircraft taxiing behind the Boeing 767 reported that fuel was leaking from the aircraft before the fire started,” said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen in an email to dpa. “Passengers evacuated via slides onto the taxiway.”

The airport was closed for a period. Flights resumed later in the day. Local news reports say that 187 flights were delayed and 42 were canceled as a result of the incident.

The jet belongs to Dynamic International Airways, according to Bergen. The airline is based in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The incident occurred at 12:45 pm (1645 GMT). Television news reports showed a plume of thick black smoke rising from the jet, a burned-out engine and white fire extinguishing foam around the aircraft.

The airline could not immediately be reached for comment.

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