- REUTERS/Gary Hershorn
- A United flight from Newark to Los Angeles had to return to the airport Wednesday when an engine failed after takeoff.
- No one was injured, but passengers described the frightening experience and posted videos of sparks coming from the engine.
- Passengers were accommodated on a later flight on a different plane.
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A United flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to Los Angeles was forced to return to the airport on Wednesday when an engine failed shortly after takeoff.
United flight 1871 had just taken off from Newark when sparks appeared to come from the right wing and the engine stopped running, passengers said on Twitter.
“Most terrifying experience of my life,” passenger Nicole Adamo said on Twitter. “Flight delayed 2 hours for Maintenance issues. Flight takes off, Right wing of the plane (where I’m sitting in the aisle seat) sparking & now one engine failed. They’re making announcements but i can’t hear anything b/c people are screaming.”
According to United, the plane landed safely at Newark and passengers were able to deplane.
“United 1871 from Newark, New Jersey to Los Angeles returned to Newark due to a mechanical issue,” a United spokesperson told USA Today. “The flight landed safely and passengers deplaned normally. We are working on changing aircraft to get our customers to their destination as soon as possible.”
No one was injured in the incident, another United spokesperson told Business Insider, and passengers were accommodated on a later flight on a different plane. The original plane is being inspected by maintenance teams.
Another passenger, who identified herself as “Gabby,” posted video that she said was from the flight.
Earlier this week, a Delta flight made news when it suffered a similar engine failure upon takeoff from Los Angeles and dumped fuel on a residential neighborhood as it returned to the airport.
A United spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the Newark flight did not eject fuel before landing.
The Delta flight, from Los Angeles to Shanghai, was significantly heavier on takeoff because it was loaded with fuel for the longer flight. The plane type, a larger 777-200, is able to eject fuel to bring weight down before an unscheduled landing.
The plane operating United 1861, a Boeing 757, does not have the fuel ejection capability, partly because the plane’s maximum suggested landing weight is relatively close to its maximum takeoff weight.
Data from FlightRadar24 show that the flight circled several times in a holding pattern before returning to Newark.