PASSENGERS had to flee across a runway after a plane engine caught fire just moments before take off.
Fire crews surrounded a Flybe jet at Edinburgh Airport after the pilot spotted smoke bellowing past his cockpit.
He grabbed a fire extinguisher and ushered all 24 passengers off the jet, which was bound for the Isle of Man.
The scare stemmed from a propeller motor which caught fire minutes before the plane was taxied to the Turnhouse runway on Tuesday afternoon.
Scots-based carrier Loganiar was yesterday forced to apologise for the emergency, which they described as “a minor incident.”
But one airport worker, who asked not to be named, said passengers were in shock following their escape.
They said: “The passengers were on the flight and it was getting ready to taxi off when the engine on the left side caught fire.
“There were about six fire engines and a really bad burning smell.
“There was panic and when people got off they looked to be in shock.
“The captain got his fire extinguisher out, but I don’t think it came to that because the fire engines arrived quickly.”
Loganair, which is based at Prestwick, Ayrshire, said the plane was immediately grounded to allow an investigation to be carried out.
A spokeswoman for the airline said: “Loganair can confirm that flight BE6813 from Edinburgh to the Isle of Man was involved in a minor incident before departure.
“Whilst starting its engines and before leaving the parking stand, smoke was seen coming from one of the aircraft’s engines.
“The engines and electrical systems were immediately shut down by the crew and, as a precautionary measure, the 24 passengers and three crew members were evacuated.
“The airport fire service attended the aircraft but took no action.
“Loganair would like to offer its sincere apologies to all customers whose journeys have been disrupted by this incident.”
The flight, which had been due to take off at 1.50pm, was delayed for several hours while a replacement plane was found.
Earlier this month a full scale emergency was declared at Edinburgh Airport after an Air France flight also reported engine trouble.
The plane, bound for London City Airport, was forced to land shortly after taking to the air when the pilot reported hearing a “clunking” noise from the engine.