COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A plane departing John Glenn International Airport Sunday morning caught fire and had to complete an emergency landing.
According to a release from the airport, a plane had a reported engine fire while in the air at around 8 a.m. Emergency crews were sent to the airport around that time as the plane landed back at John Glenn safely.
American Airlines released the following statement:
American Airlines flight 1958, with service from Columbus (CMH) to Phoenix (PHX), returned to CMH shortly after takeoff due to a mechanical issue. The flight landed normally and taxied safely to the gate under its own power. The aircraft was taken out of service for maintenance and our team is working to get customers back on their way to PHX. Safety is our top priority and we thank our customers for their understanding.
NBC4 spoke with a passenger on the plane who said it was an American Airlines flight that was heading to Phoenix. The passenger told NBC4 that the pilot of the flight said a flock of geese flew into the engine, likely causing the engine fire.
“Apparently we struck a flock of geese and the engine started making real loud ‘clonk, clonk, clonk’ noises,” said passenger John Fisher. “They eventually turned the engine off and turned around and went back to the airport.”
Fisher adds the pilot said they could not avoid the flock and lost the right engine.
American Airlines confirmed that the mechanical issue was caused by a bird strike.
Videos of the plane from viewers can be seen in the player below.
Teddy Nemunaitis said he heard the plane before he looked up and saw the fire. “I was just making my coffee this morning and I heard this loud sound outside,” said Nemunaitis. “It sounded like a backfiring car, and I immediately ran on my balcony, looked up in the sky and saw this low-flying American Airlines jet with flames coming out of the engine.”
A spokesperson confirmed to NBC4 that federal officials will be investigating this incident further.
Airport officials said the emergency landing caused only minor flight delays and that the airport remained open and operational during the incident.