Passengers were forced to leave the plane by the emergency slides on to the runway after arriving at Valencia Airport on Monday evening.
The scene on board was described by one traveller, Lucy Brown, as “like a horror film”.
“Terrifying experience on flight to Valencia,” tweeted Ms Brown. ”Flight filled with smoke and had to be emergency evacuated. Thankfully everyone safe.”
Gayle Fitzpatrick, from Glasgow, Scotland, who was on holiday with her husband Stephen, said passengers were crying and hyperventilating as a result of the incident.
She said: “It was very scary. The flight was just ending, and with 10 minutes to go the flight started descending rapidly as smoke started to fill the cabin. It was horrible white acrid smoke.
“A detector was going off saying the cabin was filling with smoke. There was talk it was an air conditioning unit.
“There were no communications from the crew, some of which started to wear full oxygen masks and protective fire wear.
“Eventually they managed to open the emergency doors and told us to go down the chutes.
“There were fire engines waiting and then we were all ushered into a bus then to the airport.”
Ms Fitzpatrick said the passengers were not told it was an emergency until the plane landed and they opened the cabin doors for the evacuation..
Three people have been treated for smoke inhalation and another 12 were treated for minor injuries they received when they slid down inflatable emergency slides, according to local government officials in Valencia.
Emergency services said they received an alert that one of the plane’s engines had caught fire.
Several passengers complained at a lack of information from cabin crew and airport staff. Others said they were left waiting for more than two hours before being told they could go and collect their belongings from the aircraft.
Stephen McConnon said: “Shocking handling of the emergency scenario at Valencia. Plane full of smoke, no oxygen, no announcements on the plane and no staff dealing with anything in the airport.
“The most terrifying experience of my life and no reaction from you. Shocking!!”
A spokesperson for the airline said on Tuesday: “Flight BA422 from Heathrow to Valencia experienced a technical issue on its landing approach into Valencia.
“All our customers were evacuated safely by our crew and met by the airport’s emergency services. There were 175 customers on board the flight, with six cabin crew and two pilots. Three customers were taken to hospital as a precaution and have since been discharged.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority. In addition to our team on site, other British Airways team members have arrived in Valencia to help our customers and our local airport partners with anything they need.”
Additional reporting by Press Association
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