Plane Carrying U.S. Military Personnel Catches Fire on Runway Before Take Off

An airport in Ireland had to close on Thursday morning (August 15) after a U.S. military plane caught fire on the runway before take off.

Shannon Airport, on the west coast of Ireland, confirmed that all flights were temporarily suspended following an incident involving an Omni Air International Boeing 767-300 at around 6:15 a.m.

Emergency services were called to the scene after air traffic controllers noticed fire and smoke coming from the plane. The flames on the undercarriage of the plane were soon extinguished.

The passengers, all members of the U.S. military, managed to safely disembark from the aircraft.

Numerous flights have been canceled as a result of the fire. The airport said services are still suspended several hours later and are advising passengers to check with their airline for updates.

"Shannon Airport has confirmed that airport operations at Shannon Airport have been temporarily suspended due to an incident at 6.15 a.m. this morning involving a Boeing 763 aircraft, Omni Air International 531, on the runway," the airport said in a statement.

"Airport Emergency services have extinguished an external fire to the undercarriage. All passengers and crew have disembarked safely and are currently in the terminal building. The airport operations team are currently working with the operator to remove the aircraft from the runway as soon as possible."

The airport said it will also be providing updates on flights via its social media channels.

Eyewitness Charles Pereira told The Journal said he saw fire engines on the runway spraying the aircraft with foam but said that "there are no signs of fire or smoke."

"There are no ambulances at the aircraft which is a good sign," he added.

Omni Air International is a civilian airline that transports military members and their families.

"We are investigating reports of an incident involving Omni Air International flight 531 at Shannon Airport, Ireland," the airline tweeted. "The Omni Boeing 767-300 aircraft rejected takeoff and was safely evacuated. Initial reports indicate no serious injuries to passengers or crew.

"Our primary concern at this time is for their safety. We are participating in the investigation of this incident and will release further information as it becomes available."

Shannon Airport added on its Twitter account: "Shannon Airport remains closed as the situation is ongoing.

"Efforts are being made to remove the aircraft from the runway. All outgoing & incoming passengers are advised to contact the airlines."

Shannon Airport
(File photo) A board shows cancelled flights at the Newark Liberty International Airport on November 15, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. Flights at Shannon Airport in Ireland have been suspended after a plane used to carry military personnel caught fire before take off. John Moore/Getty