TAP Air Portugal A320 Engine Explosion Caught On Camera

A TAP Air Portugal flight departing Lisbon yesterday suffered a dramatic engine failure on take off. Flight TP-862, being served by an Airbus A320-200, was starting to accelerate down the runway when the left hand engine vented a jet of flames and caused the flight to abort. The whole incident was caught on camera by an aviation TV channel. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

TAP flaming engine
The dramatic explosion was caught on camera. Photo: AVIAÇÃO TV via YouTube

What happened?

The TAP Air Portugal flight TP-862 from Lisbon to Venice was scheduled to depart at 15:25 yesterday. The Airbus A320, registered CS-TMW, pushed back from the gate and arrived at the runway as normal.

According to the Aviation Herald, the TAP A320 was just spooling up for takeoff when the incident happened. It had just begun to accelerate down the runway when the left hand engine suffered a catastrophic failure. As can be seen in the video below, this resulted in flames spewing out of the engine and a visible jolt to the aircraft.

CS-TMW, named Luisa Todi, is a 17.8 year old Airbus A320-200. It arrived with TAP in 2004 and is one of the A320s which has had sharklets retrofitted. It is powered by two CFM56-5B engines.

Flight Radar shows the replacement flight taking off at 20:15, using a different A320 registered CS-TNX. The four hour and 20 minute delay to the arrival will make all passengers eligible under European Union regulation 261 for flight delay compensation. CS-TMW has not taken any flights since the incident, and is presumably undergoing repairs.

The aftermath

Unusually for this type of incident, the whole thing was captured on camera. Portuguese Aviação TV happened to be filming a livestream at the airport at the time of the event, and managed to document every moment in great clarity.

Thanks to the amazing and lucky footage of the incident, we can for once see what happens in the aftermath of such an event. Following the engine failure, the follow me car rapidly arrives on scene. This is followed by the arrival of several fire engines, while the aircraft waits on the tarmac, presumably ensuring it’s safe to taxi back to the gates.

TAP A320 engine explosion
The fire crew scrambled to meet the plane. Photo: AVIAÇÃO TV via YouTube

After some time, the A320 begins making its way back down the taxiway, followed by a convoy of no less than three fire engines. Clearly, the airport was keen to ensure the safety of both the passengers on the flight and others at the airport.

TAP A320 engine explosion
The aircraft headed back to the gates, followed by a procession of fire engines. Photo: AVIAÇÃO TV via YouTube

In the closing moments of the edited video, you can see airport crew arriving to clear the debris from the runway. In among them is a managerial looking person, who is collecting and bagging up items from the ground. These are undoubtedly engine fragments, which will be essential to the investigation into what went wrong.

TAP A320 engine explosion
Crew can be seen cleaning the runway while an official recovers engine fragments from the ground. Photo: AVIAÇÃO TV via YouTube

Alongside the fragments, the video of the incident will surely prove to be valuable evidence for the investigation, which will be a rare treat for the airline and engine maker, as usually there are only verbal reports of incidents such as this.

Aviação TV describes itself on its Facebook page as a 24 hour TV channel and news about civil aviation, military and space. The channel often broadcasts live from Lisbon Airport, with videos uploaded to its Facebook page and YouTube channel. You can watch the incident in its entirety in the following post, with the action taking place around the 26th minute.

Clearly, Aviação TV was in the right place at the right time, which is going to be a big help to investigators in finding the fault with the engine. Were you on board the TAP Air flight? Let us know in the comments.