MANILA - A Philippine Airlines flight made an emergency landing after one of its engines started emitting smoke and flames shortly after takeoff from Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said PAL Flight 113 with 347 passengers and 18 crew members departed LAX at 11:45 a.m. LA time (3:45 a.m. Manila time).
She said that 2 minutes after takeoff, the Boeing 777's engine 2 started experiencing technical problems.
"Nagkaroon ng problema 'yung engine 2 at nagkaroon ng release ng flames," the spokesperson told radio DZMM.
A PAL statement said Captain Tristan Simeon and the flight crew elected to turn back to the airport and make a precautionary landing. The aircraft landed at 12 noon local time.
The fire was already put out before the plane landed, Villaluna said.
"All 347 passengers deplaned safely and are now being assisted in their flight rebookings...Everyone is safe," she said.
She said the incident is now under investigation, noting that all PAL planes undergo rigorous safety checks.
Boeing and General Electric, which makes the GE90 engine for the 777 twin-aisle jetliner, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The cause of the apparent engine failure was not immediately clear.
"You saw bursts of flames, little flames shooting out from the engine," said Andrew Ames, a 36-year-old fitness professional in Los Angeles, who watched as the plane ascended over the ocean after takeoff. "It almost looked like backfire flames from a motorcycle or car."
"I had never seen a plane spew flames repeatedly. Then it stopped. As soon as it stopped, I saw the plane bank left, like it was heading back to airport," Ames said.
While the cause of the apparent engine failure was not immediately clear, it comes as Boeing faces intense scrutiny over twin deadly crashes involving its 737 MAX single-aisle jetliner. The 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since March. With a report by Reuters