Maintenance crews on Thursday were inspecting a United Airlines jetliner that returned to New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport after it experienced engine trouble and flames were seen near a wing. Shocking eyewitness video taken by one of the horrified passengers on board UA flight 1871 shows flames erupting from the aircraft's right engine.
In a statement, United said the flight returned because of a "mechanical issue".
"I didn't know what was happening", passenger Gabrielle Guzy told ABC News. "The closest sound I can think of is [gunshots] when each spark ignited", she explained.
"The plane I was on had an engine malfunction minutes after take off", the passenger wrote.
"The flight landed safely and passengers deplaned normally", the airline said.
Another passenger, Nicole Adamo, also opened up about the flight on Twitter, calling it the "most terrifying experience" of her life.
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United Airlines officials confirmed the jet suffered a mechanical problem and had to return back to the airport. The passengers were switched to a different plane.
"They're making announcements but i can't hear anything b/c people are screaming", she added.
'Flight delayed 2 hours for maintenance issues. "We just came from the Middle East, so you're thinking, oh man, is this an engine problem, is it a missile?"
Tom Podec Aviation in a tweet showed FlightRadar24.com's image of the plane looping over North Jersey before returning to Newark'.
Passengers were re-booked on a later flight, arriving in Los Angeles around 5 a.m. PST.