A recording of the radio conversation between pilots and air traffic controllers has revealed the dramatic moments when one of the engines of an American Airlines jet carrying 161 passengers burst into flames at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
The recording of the radio traffic shows how quickly the incident unfolded just seconds before American Airlines Flight 383 was about to take off for Miami early on Saturday morning (AEST).
A matter of seconds after the Boeing 767 was cleared for take off, an air-traffic controller said: "American 383 ... stopping on the runway."
"Roger, roger, fire," the pilot replied.
"Do you see any smoke or fire?" the controller asked.
"Yeah, fire off the right wing," the pilot said.
"OK, send out the trucks," the controller said.
"American 383 can you give us any information now?"
A few seconds later, the pilot radioed air-traffic control again. "Chicago, American 383, we're evacuating."
"American 383, roger, trucks are on the way," the controller said.
While the plane's pilots were calm and professional in their response, it was a different story in the plane's main cabin as smoke entered the cabin and flames licked windows from the outside while passengers evacuated.
"It was chaos. Today I thought was the day I was going to die," passenger Sara Ahmed told an affiliate ot the American Broadcasting Corporation.
"Everyone was pushing and shoving and no one was opening the door fast enough at the back of the plane."
The seriousness of the incident was underlined by the fact that the passenger jet was fully loaded with more than 19 tonnes of jet fuel, and was leaking when emergency crews arrived at the scene within minutes.
"So they had a heavy volume of fire on both the engine and the entire wing," assistant deputy fire commissioner for airport operations Timothy Sampey told a news conference.
"This could have been absolutely devastating if it happened later."
The 161 passengers and nine crew members escaped the American Airlines plane that was billowing thick black smoke by emergency slides deployed on its left-hand side.
American Airlines said the plane aborted the take off after an "engine-related" malfunction.
The Federal Aviation Administration initially said the passenger jet had blown a tyre but later said the fire happened after "experiencing a problem" during take off.
While the airline said seven passengers and one flight attendant were injured, fire authorities said 20 people had been taken to hospitals in Chicago.
The incident forced authorities to close three runways at one of the world's largest airports.
It was the second major aircraft incident in the US in a matter of hours. Later on Saturday morning, a FedEx cargo plane erupted in flames when its landing gear collapsed at an airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The DC-10's two pilots escaped from the plane, which had just arrived from Memphis, Tennessee, at about 9am (AEST) on Saturday.