On Thursday, a Philippine Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing after one of the engines on the Boeing 777 caught fire just after it took off from Los Angeles International Airport.
The people who directly watched the incident claimed they saw flames coming from one of the planes’ engines. Andrew Ames was headed west on the 105 freeway near the airport when he spotted the plane in the sky.
“From where I was, I could see the back of the plane and it looked like it was backfiring,” he said.
“I was thinking, ‘I’ve never seen backfire on a plane.’ It was just flame, flame, flame,” he added. He witnessed the plane turned left very quickly back in the direction of the airport. The plane took off around 11:45 am from LAX but it immediately turned around. The problem was described by the airline officials as a “technical problem” with one of the engines. The plane was back on the ground by noon.
The airline said in a statement posted on its website, “All 342 passengers and 18 crew members are safe and were able to disembark from the airplane using regular airstairs.” “We greatly appreciate the calmness and patience of our PR113 passengers, who cooperated well with our cabin crew during the flight and the emergency landing.”
However, it was not clear what caused the incident. As per reports from Reuters, to determine the exact cause of the failure GE Aviation is working with the airline. GE Aviation is a subsidiary of General Electric, which manufactures the engines for the 777 aircraft. Another Boeing 777 plane operated by Air China was compelled to return to Dulles International Airport after reporting an engine fire in September. However, no one was injured in the incident.
The incident of Thursday is being investigated, said FAA officials but that is too early to determine whether the two incidents are related. “While both involved Boeing planes, it doesn’t automatically mean the underlying causes of the reported problem were identical,” spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.
“The FAA closely monitors engine performance and reliability and takes steps to address anything that might point to a trend in the larger fleet,” he added.
“We affirm that safety is our top priority and that Philippine Airlines is fully cooperating with the concerned airport and aviation authorities,” the statement continued.
The passengers were served meals and hotels were also arranged for their stay until they could be rebooked on new flights.