American Airlines plane on fire at Chicago airport
The FAA had initially stated that the take-off was aborted by the pilot due to a tyre burst. Pictured: Smoke emanating from the American Airlines flightReuters

An American Airlines plane caught fire at the O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Friday right before take-off. Although the pilot aborted the take-off immediately, at least 20 passengers are said to have sustained injuries as they were evacuated through the emergency chute. There were no serious injuries.

The incident occurred at around 2:30am CDT on the American Airlines Flight 383, a Boeing B767, which was scheduled to head to Miami, Elizabeth Cory, the spokesperson for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said.

Cory said that the incident occurred because of a blown-out tyre and that the flight crew immediately aborted the take-off. However, American Airlines in a statement said that the take-off of the flight was aborted "due to an engine-related mechanical issue."

The airline said that there were around 161 passengers on board at the time of the incident and a crew of nine members.

The Chicago department of aviation also issued a statement saying that the city fire department immediately attended the aircraft fire to douse the flames and that all the passengers were off the plane. The department also added that the fire did not occur because of a crash.

The assistant deputy fire commissioner, Timothy Sampey, said in a press conference that the mishap could have been much worse considering the plane was fully loaded with 19,504 kg of jet fuel, which was leaking when the fire officials reached the plane.

"So they had a heavy volume of fire on both the engine and the entire wing. This could have been absolutely devastating if it happened later," Sampey said. He also confirmed that the incident began with a fire in the right-side engine.

City fire spokesperson Larry Langford said that he did not find any blown tyres at the scene of the incident.

"The fire never got into the cabin.This happened so close to one of the airport fire stations that they were on it in a minute," Langford added. He also said that the plane was just 15  seconds away from take-off when the incident occurred.