Passengers evacuated after Spirit Airlines plane catches fire due to bird strike

Andrew Mauro /

A Spirit Airlines (S64) (SAVE) flight departing for South Florida from Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) on October 2, 2021, had to be evacuated after the aircraft engine caught fire following a bird strike . 

Flight 3044 bound for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) was about to take off from ACY. The Airbus A320neo  was accelerating down the runway when a large bird flew into the engine and caused the fire, according to a statement given by a Spirit Airlines (S64) (SAVE) spokesperson to US media. 

“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”, Spirit Airlines (S64) (SAVE) said. “All guests and Team Members evacuated the aircraft and were bussed back to the terminal.”

Passengers posted video footage taken from inside the cabin, showing the frenzied but otherwise successful evacuation. As has become commonplace in such incidents, the footage also showed passengers contravening standard instructions to leave baggage on board. Smoke billowing from the engine can be seen in the beginning of the video. 


A total of 102 passengers and seven crew members were evacuated. Two people were reported to be treated for minor injuries. 

In separate footage outside the aircraft, passengers can be seen taking videos of the aircraft , as firefighters managed to extinguish fire and smoke from the other side of the plane.

ACY airport remained closed hours after the fire while officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board began their investigation into  the incident.

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