235 People Evacuated off Plane at LaGuardia Due to Smoke Condition

A plane bound for Florida was evacuated at LaGuardia Airport Saturday after part of the aircraft began smoking, officials and witnesses said.

More than 225 passengers on Spirit Airlines Flight 197 were evacuated at the gate after there were reports of sparks in the power unit that provides power to the aircraft when it is on the ground, the airline said in a statement. The generator detected the problem and turned itself off, the airline said.

Passenger Zach Staggers described a chaotic scene on the Fort Lauderdale-bound flight as people rushed for the exits.

"Some initial group panic. ... Some people hopped over seats. Some people were upset. It was actually scary," he wrote in a note to NBC News.

The 29-year-old said the order to evacuate was preceded by heavy smoke outside the aircraft window, as well as a brief loss of power to the plane.

No injuries were reported.

The plane departed for Florida at about 4:30 p.m. after the problem was corrected.

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