Small jet catches fire at California airport with 10 aboard, no injuries reported
A small jet slid off the runway of a Northern California airport Wednesday and burst into flames with 10 people aboard — but fortunately nobody was hurt, officials said.
The pilot of the twin-engine Cessna Citation aborted takeoff at Oroville Municipal Airport shortly before noon when it slid off the runway into dry grass and caught fire, said Ian McGregor, spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration.
"They were out of the plane quickly," said Rick Carhart, a spokesman the CalFire/Butte County Fire Department. "The people had already gotten off and vacated the area very quickly" by the time the first fire engine arrived.
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The plane was scheduled to fly to Portland International Airport in Oregon.
Inside the aircraft were two pilots and eight passengers. The grass fire was extinguished quickly, Carhart told the Oroville Mercury-Register.
The jet was engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived and it took more than an hour to douse the blaze. It had just been refueled with 480 pounds of fuel, the paper reported.
The aircraft was personally chartered and the corporate passengers had stayed overnight in Oroville, said Joe Deal, Oroville's fire and police chief.
"It was attempting to take off, but early reports show that it never made it off the ground," Deal said.
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A portion of nearby Highway 162 was closed out of fear the spilled fuel could ignite. The airport, which did not have commercial flights, remained open.
The incident was under FAA investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.