A PASSENGER of a Cebu Pacific propeller-type aircraft bound for Tacloban was injured after the plane’s wheel caught fire while the plane prepared for takeoff at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) at 7:04 last night.

The incident delayed several flights, according to Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete.

“The runway operations are normal at this time. Five incoming flights and two outgoing were affected but immediately landed and took off after the incident. Operations were back to normal immediately thereafter, as there were no cascading delays,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

Cebgo flight DG6577 aborted the takeoff due to a “fluctuating oil indication on one of the engines.”

“While taxiing after aborting take-off, the aircraft encountered fire in the wheel well, which was then contained. The crew initiated an immediate evacuation of the passengers in line with standard emergency procedures. All passengers and crew were safely evacuated,” lawyer JR Mantaring, Cebu Pacific vice president for corporate affairs, said in a statement released at 8:20 p.m.

Firefighters declared the fire under control around 7:55 p.m.

One of the passengers who sustained a minor injury during the evacuation process was provided medical assistance.

Mantaring assured that the airline’s on-ground team is assisting all other affected passengers.

“CEB is arranging for hotel accommodations and providing meals and transfers to the affected passengers. CEB has notified and is fully cooperating with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) with regard to the incident,” the company’s statement read.

Villarete said that MCIAA and Cebu Pacific will have an assessment today to determine what caused the fire in the wheel well of the ATR 72 aircraft.

For its part, the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), the management of the MCIA terminals, thanked the MCIAA, the local fire department and the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation for responding swiftly.