• Contamination concerns, cleanup costs grow after fuel spill at Orlando International Airport

    By: Field Sutton , James Tutten


    ORLANDO, Fla. - There's more fallout at the Orlando International Airport after a transatlantic flight dumped jet fuel all over one of the runways.

    The ground around the taxiways was contaminated in the incident and it has to be dug up and replaced.

    The Airport Authority said last month it was worried about the strength of the runway that took most of the spill.


    The spill impacted the middle of a pair of taxiways that take planes back to the gate and now, the ground must be dug up because it's soaked with jet fuel.

    A passenger shared a picture of the flammable fuel gushing from the wing of a plane on touchdown nearly two months ago.

    "Fire hose is the best way to describe it," said traveler and photographer Judy Tracy. "It was coming out with great force and there was a lot. And we were taxiing as it was doing that."

    Tracy was on the way to Europe on an Airbus A340, leased by Norwegian Air, which sold her a ticket. But mechanical problems over the Atlantic forced the plane back to OIA.

    "I didn't think it was, probably, a good thing," Tracy said.

    After arriving back to Orlando, the fuel spill shut down the runway for 12 hours. The spill also called the runway's long-term structural integrity into doubt and set off weeks' worth of testing.

    "We discovered additional soil contamination," said Dan Carrington, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority environmental project manager.

    The airport authority's construction committee learned 720 tons of soil have to be dug up and all the contaminated dirt must be trucked out to a landfill in Holopaw. The massive holes left behind must be filled in, with a price tag topping $100,000.

    Tracy said she never got an explanation from the airline. "I do, honestly, feel very grateful that we made it back and that's something nobody wants to experience," she said.

    The Federal Aviation Administration said it's still investigating why the plane spewed the fuel.

    Airport officials said the runways and taxiways are fine for use and they'll be repaired long before they develop any problems.


    DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps

    Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live

    Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD

    Next Up: