MIAMI — The National Transportation Safety Board reported Tuesday that the main fuel supply line to an engine was disconnected before a jetliner caught fire as it taxied for takeoff from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.
In issuing preliminary findings Tuesday, the NTSB said the fuel line's coupling assembly had disconnected near the left engine of the Dynamic International Airways plane. The coupling assembly has been retained for further investigation.
The fire did not penetrate the fuselage, the NTSB said.
The NTSB is reviewing the Greensboro, North Carolina-based airline's plane maintenance records. Officials plan to wrap up the onsite investigation Tuesday.
The stainless steel fuel lines on a Boeing 767 are not usually a focus in regular aircraft maintenance, said Chuck Horning, chairman of Aviation Maintenance Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
"It's not one of those things that is generally an issue. The first thing I would want to look at is get a complete picture of the maintenance done in that area," Horning said. "You'd want to go back and see what other kinds of maintenance was done in the past."
The NTSB reported there was no maintenance in the fuel line area immediately before the fire. Dynamic has ordered inspections of the rest of the airline's fleet to ensure proper fuel line connections.
A pilot in a plane behind the Caracas-bound airplane saw the fire Thursday and alerted authorities. Passengers evacuated by sliding down chutes. Of the 90 onboard, one was seriously injured and 21 suffered minor injuries.
The NTSB also reported that the airplane involved in the incident was in dry storage for 29 months before Dynamic leased it in September. It had flown about 240 hours for Dynamic before the fire.