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Spirit Airlines plane catches fire after bird flies into one of its engines

Spirit Airlines plane catches fire after bird flies into one of its engines
Passengers and crew members were evacuated with the help of an inflatable slide out

A Spirit Airlines flight caught fire after a bird flew into one of its engines during take off at the Atlantic City airport in New Jersey.

The incident took place on Saturday when flight 3044, bound for Fort Lauderdale, was forced to stop after accelerating on the runway.

A spokesperson for the airline said the plane stopped before leaving ground after a “large bird entered one of the plane’s engines.”

The plane was eventually brought to a stop and 102 passengers and seven crew members were evacuated. Two people on board reportedly suffered injuries.

One video filmed inside the airport and circulating on social media, showed plumes of smoke emerging from the plane.

Another video showed passengers leaving the plane through an inflatable slide out, usually deployed for emergency evacuations.

“The captain braked safely and brought the plane to a stop, received an indication of damage to the engine, and ordered an evacuation in accordance with our standard procedures,” the airline said in a statement.

The passengers were bussed back to the terminal and given a complete refund, a future travel voucher and the option to board another flight to Fort Lauderdale.

The fire was extinguished and the plane was left on the runway for investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration. The airport was shut soon after the incident for several hours.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy, in a tweet, said the government was “closely monitoring” the aircraft incident.

“All passengers and crew were successfully evacuated off the plane, and no serious injuries reported,” he wrote.

Earlier in September, a Spirit Airlines flight departing from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas had to stop seconds before liftoff due to a “maintenance issue.”

According to reports, the pilots had suddenly hit the brakes, bringing the jet to a screeching halt. The plane then suffered a flat tire as it taxied back to the gate.

The airline had cancelled over 2,800 flights between 30 July and 9 August, stating bad weather conditions, staff shortage and technical problems, affecting hundreds of passengers.

The ensuing chaos across airports, after the cancellations, had cost the airline almost $50mn in revenue, the budget carrier said.