A cargo loader burst into flames Monday at Hong Kong International Airport, injuring the machine's operator. The incident took place right before a cargo pallet was set to be loaded onto an American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER.
Video posted on social media of the fire shows the blaze a few feet away from the right rear cargo door of the plane. As a result of the incident, American Airlines Flight 192 to Los Angeles was canceled and the aircraft was taken out of service. Its passengers have been transferred to other flights. Photos on social media showed the fire blazing, with black smoke rising near the belly of the plane in between the right wing and tail wing. Hong Kong Airport Authority said the fire, which occurred at ground level, had been extinguished and they were investigating its cause.
"An external piece of loading equipment had a mechanical issue and caught fire while preparing to put cargo in the hold of American Airlines flight 192 from Hong Kong (HKG) to Los Angeles (LAX)," an American Airlines representative told Business Insider in an email statement. "As a result, a pallet on the loading equipment containing non-hazardous goods also caught fire."
The plane was parked at the gate, but boarding had not yet commenced, and no passengers or crew members were injured. "The operator of loading equipment is being looked after by medical professionals with non-life threatening injuries," American Airlines said.
Though the plane did not catch fire, the airline pulled the $347.1 million Boeing jet from service so a maintenance crew could evaluate the aircraft.
AA Flight 192 flight had been scheduled to depart Hong Kong at 6:10 p.m. and land in Los Angeles at 4:30 p.m., all times local. Officials are investigating what led to the malfunction on the loader.