Fort Lauderdale, Florida – October 29, 2015 — A Dynamic Airways plane caught fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Thursday, just as the Boeing 767 was preparing to depart. Witnesses could only look on in horror as Dynamic Airways Flight 405 caught fire at around 12:30 p.m. while taxiing to its departure runway.
The Dynamic Airways fire left 21 people with injuries, including one person who sustained serious head injuries. Officials say the injured were transported to Broward Health Medical Center. Most of the injuries were listed as minor-predominantly chest and knee pains or anxiety. The youngest passenger taken to the hospital was a four-year-old boy. Two crew members also received treatment for injuries sustained from the plane fire.
Dynamic Airways Flight 405, bound for Caracas, Venezuela, had 90 passengers (including two children) and 11 crew members on board. According to reports, the pilot of a plane taxiing behind the noticed fuel leaking from the plane moments before it caught fire. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Director Kent George told the media that the fire was on the Boeing 767’s left-wing and number one engine. George emphasized that there was “no fire in the cockpit, in the airplane itself. He said, “There was a fire on the left-wing and the number one engine.”
An air traffic recording from the Dynamic Airways incident captured someone screaming, “Engine’s on fire! Engine’s on fire!” Luckily, passengers onboard the Boeing 767 had already begun to flee the scene using inflatable chutes by the time firefighters arrived. No life-threatening injuries were reported.
According to NBC News, firefighters doused the flames from the Boeing 767 with chemical foam and put out the fire within a few minutes. Mike Jachles, Broward County Sheriff and Fire Rescue spokesman, said that although they train for this type of incident, it could easily have become much more serious.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records show that the Boeing 767-269 operating as Dynamic Airways Flight 405 is nearly 30 years old (built in 1986). The Boeing 767 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine airliner that first entered commercial service in 1982. As of October 2015, the Boeing 767 has been involved in 45 incidents, according to the Aviation Safety Network.
Dynamic Airways at a Glance
- Founded in 2010. Dynamic Airways LLC, doing business as Dynamic International Airways, is a US Certificated airline owned by private owners.
- Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina.
- Offers service from airports in Florida, Guyana, Hong Kong, New York, Palau, and Venezuela. Also has a route from Changsha, China to Los Angeles via Anchorage, Alaska.
- FAA has cited Dynamic Airways 27 times since 2011 for various types of violations, including drug testing issues and quality control. Records also show that the airline has been cited four times for maintenance deficiencies.
- Since 2010, Dynamic Airways has sent 80 “service difficulty reports” to the FAA in which the airline documented various maintenance problems with planes in its fleet. While some of the problems were minor, like interior lights needing replacement, there were other more dangerous issues as well, such as documented corrosion on the tail of one of their planes and on the floor of a different aircraft. There was also a report of wing flaps and an engine fire-test system not functioning properly.
Similar incidents in the last few years where planes have caught on fire include JetBlue Flight 1416 and Spirit Airlines Flight 165.
- On September 14, 2014, the right engine of a JetBlue Airbus A320 traveling from Long Beach, California to Austin, Texas exploded approximately 15 minutes after takeoff, filling the passenger cabin with smoke. Oxygen masks failed to deploy throughout the cabin and passengers reported difficulty breathing. JetBlue Flight 1416 was able to make an emergency landing back at Long Beach. The Baum Hedlund law firm is representing nearly 30 passengers from this incident.
- On October 15, 2013, Spirit Airlines Flight 165 traveling from Dallas, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia caused massive panic when one of its engines burst into flames 20 minutes after takeoff. Smoke surrounded passengers in the cabin and passengers struggled to breathe without the use of oxygen masks, which were not deployed.
Dynamic Airways Fire Investigation
Investigators are still not clear what started the leak and the engine fire on Flight 405. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has dispatched a team of investigators to Fort Lauderdale. Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Dynamic Airways, Boeing and the engine’s manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, will also participate. Officials have said a full report on the incident could take about a year to complete.
Dynamic Airways Flight 405 Updates
NTSB Issues Update on Dynamic Airways Investigation | November 3, 2015
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board discovered a disconnected fuel line mechanism on the Dynamic International Airways flight that caught fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last Thursday. NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said the agency is reviewing the plane’s maintenance records at Dynamic Airways’ headquarters in North Carolina.
Also revealed in the NTSB investigation update: Prior to last Thursday’s fire, the Boeing 767 plane was in storage for more than two years before Dynamic leased the plane in September. Since Dynamic leased the plane, it has seen roughly 240 flight hours, according to the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.
Other revelations in the NTSB update:
- Officials have found no evidence that the engine exploded, as many thought it had.
- Fire did not penetrate the body of the Boeing 767.
- As of now, the NTSB has not found any evidence that maintenance had been performed on the plane’s fuel coupling device.
- The flight’s black boxes are being reviewed in Washington D.C.
- Dynamic International Airlines will inspect the other planes in its fleet to make sure that the fuel coupling assemblies are installed correctly.
Dynamic Airways Passengers Still Without Luggage as NTSB Starts Investigation | October 30, 2015
At this time, the NTSB isn’t saying much about the cause of the fire, though a fuel leak appears to be the reason for Thursday’s fire, which caused Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to shut down for three hours. According to the Seattle Times, the Boeing 767-269 leaked between 45 and 50 gallons of fuel onto the taxiway.
Passenger Andres Gallegos told the media that he was one of the first passengers to evacuate Dynamic Airways Flight 405. He said he heard a loud bang, then turned around and saw lights and flames. That’s when he ran to the front of the plane. According to Gallegos, it took about 30 seconds for the doors of the plane to open. “It was pretty nerve-wracking, knowing that the door wasn’t opening and that something was on fire,” he said.
NTSB records show that the Boeing 767-269 operating as Dynamic Airways Flight 405 had no previous incidents prior to Thursday’s fire in Fort Lauderdale. The airline has been involved in one minor incident. In 2011, a Dynamic flight attendant sustained serious injuries when a flight encountered moderate turbulence. The incident did not cause any damage to the plane, which was able to land safely.