NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Spirit Airlines plane was evacuated and fire crews were called in at LaGuardia Airport Saturday morning, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.
The Port Authority said Spirit Flight 197 to Fort Lauderdale, Florida was deplaned just before 11 a.m., CBS2 reported.
Brooklyn resident Zach Staggers was on the plane when he and his brother spotted something scary outside, WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini reported.
“I was at the window seat and we saw the smoke coming out of it — kind of looked at each other like what’s going on?” he said.
Staggers said the crew got everyone off the plane once they spotted the problem, but it was a hectic ordeal.
“It was as if you yelled ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater,” Staggers said.
Spirit Airlines said sparks were actually reported in the auxiliary powerunit, a generator that provides electricity to the plane while it’s on the ground. The airline said the generator detected the sparks and immediately shut itself off.
Aircraft Rescue and Fire responded to the scene, the Port Authority said.
There were a total of 228 passengers and crew on board, according to the Port Authority. No injuries were reported.
The flight was canceled and passengers had to re-book another flight, 1010 WINS reported. In a statement, Spirit Airlines apologized to the customers for the inconvenience.
A plane bound for Florida was evacuated at LaGuardia Airport Saturday after part of the aircraft began smoking, officials and witnesses said.
More than 225 passengers on Spirit Airlines Flight 197 were evacuated at the gate after there were reports of sparks in the power unit that provides power to the aircraft when it is on the ground, the airline said in a statement. The generator detected the problem and turned itself off, the airline said.
Passenger Zach Staggers described a chaotic scene on the Fort Lauderdale-bound flight as people rushed for the exits.
"Some initial group panic. ... Some people hopped over seats. Some people were upset. It was actually scary," he wrote in a note to NBC News.
The 29-year-old said the order to evacuate was preceded by heavy smoke outside the aircraft window, as well as a brief loss of power to the plane.
No injuries were reported.