OROVILLE, Calif. – All 10 people aboard a small jet escaped injury Wednesday after the aircraft aborted its takeoff at a small Northern California airport, went off the runway and burst into flames, officials said.
The pilot of the twin-engine Cessna Citation jet aborted its takeoff at Oroville Municipal Airport for unknown reasons shortly before noon, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
The plane was carrying two pilots and eight passengers, and “all were accounted for, no injuries,” said Joe Deal, Oroville’s fire and police chief.
The aircraft slid off the end of the runway into dry grass and caught fire. Officials briefly closed nearby Highway 162 before controlling the grass fire at less than two acres.
The plane was flying from Oroville to Portland International Airport in Oregon, Gregor said.
Deal said it was a personally chartered jet and its corporate passengers had stayed overnight in Oroville.
“It was attempting to take off, but early reports show that it never made it off the ground,” Deal said. The jet slid off the northern end of the runway onto a grassy area, but it never left the airport property. It was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived.
Firefighters were able to quickly control the grass fire, but it took more than an hour to extinguish the jet, partly because it had just taken on 400 gallons of jet fuel, he said. A crash truck from nearby Chico sprayed the jet with foam to help extinguish the blaze.
The airport, which does not have commercial flights, remained open.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. It typically takes the NTSB a year or more to determine a probable cause of an accident, Gregor said.
Expands. Will be updated. Links photos. With AP Photos.
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