10/08/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Sanford, FL—The engine of an Allegiant Air jet caught fire Friday morning, October 8, 2010, prompting the evacuation of 147 passengers and five crew members. The small engine blaze was ignited as the plane prepared to depart from Orlando-Sanford International Airport, according to information provided by the Orlando Sentinel.

Reports indicated the Allegiant Air MD-80 was parked at Gate 9 and was about to begin taxiing when smoke was detected.

While Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorities received word of the fire around 7:15 a.m., the blaze did not prompt officials to deploy the emergency chute. The plane’s occupants were instead evacuated “into the jetway” in an ostensibly calm manner.

Luckily, no injuries were reported in connection with the engine fire. According to Tyri Squyres, a spokeswoman for Allegiant Air, “At the moment, we don’t know the extent of the damage.”

A second jet was sent to Orlando-Sanford International Airport to transport the evacuated passengers and crew to their scheduled destination, Roanoke, Virginia. That plane apparently took off before 10:45 a.m.

Allegiant Air, based in Las Vegas, is no stranger to adverse events, however.

In an April 2009 incident, a bald eagle reportedly struck the jet’s “angle of attack indicator.” That plane had taken off from Sanford and was en route to Allentown, Pennsylvania when it was forced to turn back to the airport.

A warning light also reportedly turned on as an Allegiant Air jet, which initially departed from Sanford as well, approached a Knoxville, Tennessee-based airport in August 2008. Reports did not specify what caused the warning light to turn on.

On two separate occasions in 2007, Allegiant Air planes were reportedly forced to make emergency landings as well. The first emergency landing was executed because the flight exceeded its weight limit.

The second emergency landing was allegedly carried out after the jet’s landing gear failed to deploy. In that incident, one passenger reportedly complained of an ankle injury while another was taken to the hospital for chest pains.

FAA officials are expected to investigate the Friday morning airplane fire.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Florida Personal Injury Lawyers.

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