CHICAGO (WLS) -- Southwest Airlines Flight 3299 was aborted when the plane's engine caught fire during takeoff at Midway International Airport in Chicago.
Passengers said smoke and flames shot out of the engine just as the plane was about to lift off the ground. The pilot quickly corrected its course, passengers said, and safely came to a stop.
"When we were going down the runway, we were doing about 125mph and the boom happened. The plane veered off the runway and he used the rudder to correct when the other engine took us off the runway," passenger Stephen Calabrese said.
"We were literally going to take off and then it went off, we pulled over and all these fire trucks came over and it was crazy," another passenger said. "I was actually freaking out because I don't like flying that much anyway and then I just saw that go off and I thought it was going to die."
Blain Thayer posted cell phone video to Twitter that shows a bright flash and sparks.
"Well, first it was unusual. Something like that never happens. I mean, we got to exit the plane on the tarmac. But, I mean, initially you're just kind of confused. A little scared. But after a while, kind of exciting and entertaining," Thayer said.
The 143 passengers were escorted down using emergency stairs while firefighters put out the fire and secured the aircraft. They were bused back to the terminal to await another flight.
Most passengers got on another plane that landed at Logan International Airport at 2:30 a.m., almost three hours later than scheduled. However, Calabrese, who had tickets to Friday's Red Sox vs. Yankees game, wanted to wait until Thursday morning.
"I said, 'I don't want to go tonight.' I said, 'I'd rather just stay here and wait it out,'" Calabrese said. "It was the scariest moment of my life.
No one was hurt in what Southwest called a "performance issue with one of the engines." The cause of the engine malfunction is under investigation.
Southwest flight aborted after engine catches fire at Midway
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