Watch: Delta Flight from Cancun Erupts in Fire After Landing in Seattle, Evacuation Video Goes Viral

On May 6, a Delta Air Lines Airbus A321neo arriving from Cancun, Mexico, caught fire shortly after landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The incident, captured on video and posted online, showed a small fire breaking out under the cockpit as passengers disembarked the aircraft.

The fire started after an electrical cord was plugged into the Airbus aircraft, causing sparks to ignite near the nose of the plane. Pilots had smelled smoke and initiated the emergency evacuation. Evacuation chutes were deployed, and passengers began exiting the aircraft. Video showed some passengers walking on the wing to exit the aircraft. Some passengers were able to deplane via the jet bridge before the evacuation was fully underway. No serious injuries were reported.

Surveillance video from the airport now shows what happened:

According to Delta,

Out of an abundance of caution, slides were deployed and passengers still on board deplaned via the rear of the aircraft. Passengers were fully evacuated, and those deplaned to the ramp returned to the terminal via the ramp stairs.

The FAA added,

Delta Air Lines Flight 604 landed safely at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport around 10 p.m. local time on Monday, May 6. While parked at the gate, the crew of the Airbus A321 reported a possible fire caused by the ground power unit. Passengers exited the aircraft using the emergency evacuation slides. Please contact the airline for more information.

Delta provided passengers with apologies, SkyMiles, and inquired about expenses incurred as a result of the incident.

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  1. How does Customs and Border Control work in a situation like that to corral the passengers?? Half joking, half serious question.

  2. Gobsmacked by the lack of “sense of urgency” of ground service operations crew around nose of plane. FMEA in order.

  3. One cannot see electricity , but it is very dangerous . I would rather drive a gas jeep than an electric car .

  4. “Delta flight erupts in fire?” Good grief, a power cord shorted out and burned, but self extinguished when the circuit breaker tripped, resulting in no more fire. The plane never caught on fire. Be careful when you publish things like this as you’re supposed to be an aviation knowledgable publication.

  5. I’m not an expert in fire management at airports but I found it interesting:
    1. when the fire initially broke out, the ambulance at the bottom of the video left
    2. most of the ground crew evacuated EXCEPT for 1-2 who kept running near the nose of the plane
    3. where was the emergency ground team to help direct vehicle and foot traffic

    Maybe it was just a small electrical fire and could easily be extinguished.
    Or maybe with all the quality control issues lately, it could have been something more serious.
    Glad to see that no one was injured.

  6. Didn’t realize the 321NEOs had the raccoon look as well. Surprised this is newsworthy, given that it is not Boeing.

    Also surprised they don’t have a suitable fire extinguisher at the gate, though SEA ground crews are contracted, so it’s “See you later, Jackson!”

  7. All they really had to do was shut off the ground power and MAYBE a quick blast with a fire extinguisher but really shutting off power probably would have ended it.
    Even with the FD there, it looks like it was a mechanic who finally went over with a fire extinguisher and put a stop to the power cable arcing
    As a result:
    1. More damage to the aircraft than was likely necessary
    2. Four blown slides
    3. Probably a few passenger injuries fron the evacuation


  8. Really – ERUPTS with fire. That is a huge exaggeration and just another example of click bate.

  9. I’m glad everyone is okay and it was a fairly minor incident that the crew seemed to have handled professionally (ground crew is debatable). However, there is a lesson here for passengers on international flights – carry your passport on your person. There is no telling how long people waited for their carryon bags and personal items containing a passport. If the incident had been worse, those passengers would have been without their documents and faced even greater delays as INS determined their identity and citizenship. Foreign citizens would have possibly been sent back to Cancun. Keep your passport on your person, not in your bag.

  10. A lot of people evacuated with bags. I’m sure that they were told not to take them. It shows that people have little confidence in the airline crews and the contracted crews getting personal carry on items back securely, safely and quickly. It also shows the reason to lock carry on bags that can be locked. I carry my most valuable items in a waist bag or a money belt so they are always with me. Additional necessary items such as my currently needed meds are in my jacket pockets. The timing of the evacuation seemed a bit longer than the FAA standard of 90 seconds from declaration but was reasonably quick.

  11. “Delta provided passengers with apologies, SkyMiles, and inquired about expenses incurred as a result of the incident.”

    Again, Delta is a master at proactively managing potential PR flareups, no matter the context. Imagine AA’s response.

  12. I see a lot of comments about how the ground crew handled it.. I find it hard to judge that, based on the limited knowledge we have here.

    I have to say though that I’m impressed with the onboard crew based on what I’m seeing. It was less than 4 minutes from the first spark to the evacuation being complete, and while some people took their luggage, it seemed overall very efficent and orderly.

    Seeing that aspect honestly makes me feel a little safer flying.

  13. Fully four minutes in before the fire trucks show up to do….nothing. A ground crew finally hits it with a fire extinguisher. For a minute there, I thought they were going to just let it burn itself out.

  14. I wonder if this is the same plane as last week that operated as
    DL 733 ATL – PHX on 5/5. All lavatory toilets, wouldn’t flush and ready to overflow. Plane diverted to DEN. Everyone deplaned and waited to board another plane. Got to PHX over 4 hours later than originally scheduled.
    Delta is having issues for sure

  15. Props to Delta for handling the passenger costs and inconveniences quickly. It’s why they get my money.

  16. @jns, there need to be laws so that retrieving baggage during evacuation would be considered a FELONY – go to prison, lose the right to own a gun, the whole she-bang.

    Here’s a hypothetical example of some statutory language that could be enacted to do this in Washington state.
    “Any passenger of an aircraft who, upon receiving notice of an emergency evacuation, retrieves or attempts to retrieve any article of carry-on baggage, is guilty of a Class C felony punishable according to 9A.20 RCW.” (maybe also an additional clause for stricter penalties if the violation resulted in injury to another person.)

  17. @Samus Aran, the evacuation notice occurred after the airplane was parked and the seatbelt sign turned off. A lot of passengers probably already had retrieved their bags by the time that there was an announcement. Putting them back would have taken longer and piling them could have blocked other people exiting. Not a good solution in this case.

  18. “Ruby says:
    May 14, 2024 at 9:23 am
    I see a lot of comments about how the ground crew handled it.. I find it hard to judge that, based on the limited knowledge we have here.”
    Ruby—-Please don’t assume posters here have limited knowledge of aviation safety; tenured pilots, ground service customer service agents, flight attendants, here and ticketing agents, AV-Geeks and Quality-Safety professionals post on this site and others which are similar. There are numerous safety, quality opportunities to address with this incident. Ground service crew behaviors and action/inaction figure among them.

  19. The same thing happened to a WN 737 at a nearby gate at SeaTac last year as well.

  20. I’m sure as soon as they stopped forward motion damn near all of the passengers were on their feet and had no idea there was a fire, so half of them probably already had their carry-ons.

  21. This would have much wider coverage if it was a Boeing plane. It’s the way journalists and media get into a narrative rut.

  22. Well, I wonder where Timmyboy is. Delta’s main cheerleader saying that United had a safety problem. Well, not only this episode, but also days ago a Delta plane losing an engine panel too.
    Oversight anyone?

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