Passengers scream in terror and chant prayers as plane's engine 'catches FIRE' mid-flight and smoke fills cabin

Footage showed a dramatic scene on board the smoke-filled plane Photo: Mirror

Terrified passengers screamed and chanted prayers as smoke poured into a plane's cabin after one of its engines allegedly caught fire mid-flight.

Footage captured by a traveller on board the stricken aircraft reveals a dramatic scene as passengers feared they would die when smoke filled the cabin and the plane began to move "up and down".

Panicked travellers could smell something burning about 20 minutes after take-off and their fears worsened as the smoke "got thicker" and alarms went off.

In the video people can be heard praying loudly, screaming or even weeping as the flight crew prepared to make an emergency landing without oxygen masks for the passengers.

Passenger Oriakwu Okwesilieze wrote on Twitter that the Aero Contractors plane "started smoking" about 20 minutes into a domestic flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos in Nigeria on Wednesday.

The plane was carrying 53 passengers, including a seven-month-old baby, Sahara Reporters reported.

As smoke filled the cabin oxygen masks failed deploy from the ceiling and passengers were told to cover their mouths and noses with wet towels handed out by the crew, a report claimed.

Ms Okwesilieze said passengers were chanting prayers, screaming and panicking for 35 minutes as smoke continued to fill the cabin before the plane landed safely in Lagos.

She wrote: "Like we just took off and I'm about to die? Nah! God can't let this happen. The smoke was so thick we couldn't see, the blades were sparking.

"Pilot said we should calm down but something was burning, smelling and the smoke got thicker, the alarms went off but he said to calm down?

"I prayed and quoted all the bible verses I could think of. I was shaking, the plane was moving up and down, women were screaming at the back."

Ms Okwesilieze said the plane was met by firefighters as it landed.

She wrote: "Everyone is shouting sue sue but I'm just grateful to be alive and on ground. Funny thing is no apology or explanation was given to anyone.

"Every One on this aero contractor flight could have died today but for God."

Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority and the airline are investigating the incident.

A spokesman for the airline told Sahara Reporters that everything appeared to be normal during a routine pre-flight check of the plane.

He said an alarm sounded and smoke filled the cabin after a passenger went into a lavatory.

But passengers and Nigerian media described the incident as an engine fire.

The spokesman commended the pilot and crew for their "professionalism" during the emergency.