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Pilot and his passenger escape death after fleeing from their smoking aircraft

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Pilot and his passenger escape death after fleeing from their smoking aircraft

A pilot and his passenger have avoided death by escaping their smoking plane just before it burst into flames ahead of take-off.

The pilot smelled smoke in the single-engine Piper PA-32 Cherokee 6 just before 1pm on Sunday at Venice Municipal Airport in Florida.

He alerted his passenger, Allen Rieke, and the pair managed to flee the aircraft just before it became engulfed in flames.

Firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after and got the blaze under control.

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Authorities said that plane’s tank was full with 80 gallons of fuel, and just 30 gallons were recovered.

Mr Rieke told the Herald Tribune: ‘It wasn’t scary. It was more like ”I can’t believe this is happening.”

‘But we’re all good, so everything is fine. I’m just glad we didn’t get in the air when that happened, because it would have been a different outcome.’

The airport is currently closed while the Federal Aviation Administration investigates.

Both the pilot and passenger were uninjured in the incident, according to airport director Mark Cervasio.

The fire happened on runway Number 5 at the airport, at 150 Airport Ave. E, in Venice, Sarasota County, Florida.

The airport is home to roughly 200 aircraft and about 60,000 take offs and landings occur every year, according to the city’s website.

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