A British Airways Boeing 777 caught fire at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Tuesday

BA Boeing 777 jet engine catches fire in Las Vegas

A British Airways Boeing 777 departing from Las Vegas caught fire on Tuesday, forcing the pilots to abort the take-off.

The incident at McCarran International Airport was caused by the plane’s left engine bursting into flames, according to preliminary investigation results announced by the Federal Aviation Administration's Pacific Division.

All 172 people aboard the plane, bound for London's Gatwick airport, were evacuated from the smoke-engulfed aircraft. Some passengers suffered minor injuries.

Boeing 777 uses either Rolls-Royce or General Electric Engines. A Rolls-Royce spokesman said the affected engine was not developed by the company.

"Our crew evacuated the aircraft safely and the fire was quickly extinguished by the emergency services at the airport," a British Airways spokeswoman said.

A photograph posted by the airport of the immediate aftermath of the fire showed the plane sitting on the runway with its fuselage charred.

The fire temporarily delayed flights across the western United States.

Jacob Steinberg, a sports journalist for Britain's Guardian newspaper, wrote on Twitter that he had fallen asleep on the plane during takeoff and felt the jetliner come to a "crashing halt."

"Could smell and see smoke but was on other side of plane. One person said fire melted a couple of windows," Steinberg wrote. "They opened the back door and slide went down and smoke started coming in plane, followed by mad dash to front. A lot of panic."

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