The blaze on the United Airlines plane started 30 minutes after its 11:36am take-off from San Francisco, producing thick smoke that surrounded the plane and loud bangs, terrifying the 202 passenger as the United Airlines Flight 873 engine crashed.
Doug Yakel, a spokesman for SFO said: “The aircraft experienced some kind of engine issue and had to shut down one of its four engines” before returning to the airport.”
The Boeing 747 plane caught fire after the compressor section on the left-side of the engine failed.
Sam Smith, an office worker saw the planes flames from his office and tweeted: “The @united flight out of @flySFO had flames coming out of left side engine, made loud bang noise, and then looked like it was going to land.”
— Sam Smith (@SISmith89)
November 28, 2016
Aviation officials revealed the plane would have been completely safe despite stalling and making loud bangs.
Before the plane landed back at San Francisco airport around 1:35pm, the pilot took an extended flight path through Santa Cruz so fuel could be dumped into the atmosphere in order to make a safe landing.
Charlie Hobart, a spokesman for the United Airlines, commended the 15 crew members on board for ensuring all passengers left injury free.
Hobard said: “The reason for the engine”s malfunction is not yet known.
— Kristen Sze (@abc7kristensze)
November 28, 2016
“The passengers were not in danger thanks to its professional pilots – the best in the business.”
The passengers were rebooked onto another flight that will take-off in the late afternoon.
A spokeswoman for United Airlines said the dysfunctional plane will not be allowed to fly again until it has been serviced and the problem is identified.
The Federation Aviation Administration has not confirmed when their investigation will take place.