UNITED STATES NEWS

United flight forced to return to Houston airport after engine catches fire shortly after takeoff

Mar 7, 2024, 2:41 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — A United flight from Houston to Fort Myers, Texas, was forced turn around Monday after one of the plane’s engines caught fire.

Several of the 167 passengers aboard the Boeing 737 took video showing a line of flames shooting out of the engine, KTRK-TV reported.

“I remember there was just this bright, flashing light that came through the window, and it sounded like a bomb went off, and then it was just a strobe of fire out the window,” said David Gruninger, who was on the connecting flight home to Florida with 15 of his friends after attending a wedding in Mexico.

FlightAware shows Flight 1118 taking off from George Bush Intercontinental Airport at 6:40 p.m. It turned around at 6:52 p.m.

“It was our left engine, our number one engine, that was surging when we were climbing through about 10,000 (feet), and flight attendants saw momentary flames back there,” a pilot can be heard saying on radio transmissions.

The plane landed back at Bush Airport at 7:13 p.m., just 33 minutes after takeoff.

“It was a very turbulent ride back, and it was a pretty harsh landing,” Gruninger told KTRK. “This is something I’ll remember every time I get on a flight now.”

United flew its passengers to Fort Myers a few hours later on a different plane.

The plane with engine trouble is scheduled to depart Bush Airport for Orlando at 7:20 a.m. Thursday.

Emails from United provided by a passenger show they offered travelers a $200 flight credit and a $15 meal voucher.

“United flight 1118 returned to Houston shortly after takeoff due to an engine issue. The flight landed safely, and the passengers deplaned normally. We arranged for a new aircraft to take our customers to their destination, which departed for Fort Myers later that evening,” the airline said in a statement.

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United flight forced to return to Houston airport after engine catches fire shortly after takeoff