ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A United Airlines flight from San Diego was forced to make an emergency landing in Albuquerque after flames were seen shooting from one of the plane’s engines.
The Chicago-bound flight landed safely in New Mexico early Monday and United arranged for a different plane to get customers to their destination, the company said in a statement to CNN.
One of the passengers, Thomas Chorny, recorded a video of the incident while sitting in seat 34F with a view of the right wing.
Strange to sit there & think ‘What if this is it?’ To just sit there & accept the potential fate that seems to be a possibility & not tell the sleeping people all around you. No need to panic the others. I’m a pretty calm person but took me a while to stop the shakes & trembles. pic.twitter.com/4rWfNvFhBM
— Thomas Chorny (@SteepleCoach) December 16, 2019
“The plane started to shake a bit like it was hitting turbulence, but the wings were perfectly still. I was halfway falling asleep but opened my eyes to look out the window and saw flames shooting from the right engine,” he told CNN. “They shut down the engine to idle, and the flames went out and then they started banking left for quite a while and we dropped a bunch of altitude. It took another 10 minutes or so before they announced that we would be landing at Albuquerque. ”
Chorny said there may have been only three people who saw the flames and he didn’t talk about it with anybody else “because I didn’t want to freak people out.”
“It’s a strange feeling to sit there not knowing exactly what was going on, but it was very easy to start getting emotional just thinking about what might have happened,” he said.
The airline said Flight 366 “diverted to Albuquerque following a mechanical issue with one of the engines.”
“The flight landed safely, and customers deplaned normally at the gate. Our maintenance team in Albuquerque will inspect the aircraft and we’ve arranged for a different plane to get our customers to their destination which has departed,” the company said.
No injuries were reported and a full inspection will confirm the issue with the engine, United said.