'Controlled chaos' aboard SFO-bound plane engine catches fire at NJ airport

NEWARK, New Jersey (KGO) -- Newark Airport is closed after a reported engine fire on an SFO-bound plane. The plane was still on the tarmac and all passengers were evacuated safely.

131 people were on board the plane when the fire erupted. It happened as the aircraft was taxiing on the tarmac at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey just outside New York City.

The airport reopened Tuesday night and all of the passengers on the United flight 1579 are trying to figure out what's next. Some left personal items like phones and even shoes on board. They have to retrieve those things and any checked luggage, before getting rebooked on another flight.

United confirmed that five people suffered minor injuries and one person had a sprained ankle. It comes after the tower reported seeing fire in one of the plane's engines.

The plane was still taxiing at the time and immediately stopped, and the chutes deployed.

"Then the flight attendants were like, 'Get off the plane, get off the plane, get off the plane, run away from the plane,'" said passenger Lo Toney. "It was controlled chaos is the best way to describe it."

"Everyone was very shaken, and emotional at first when we were all out on the tarmac but once we got in the lounge, you saw a lot of camaraderie," said passenger Lila Ibrahim. "And people offering phones to those who left theirs on the plane."

United Airlines released a statement saying: "During taxiing of United flight 1579 from Newark to San Francisco, the tower notified the crew of what appeared to be flames from one of the engines. The crew immediately deployed the slides and evacuated the aircraft. At this time we have a report of only one minor injury. Customers are being transported back to the terminal. We are working to get our customers to San Francisco as soon as possible."

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