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'Engine fire' forces Berlin-bound plane back

The Local · 19 Aug 2012, 11:57

Published: 19 Aug 2012 11:57 GMT+02:00

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It was shortly after take-off late on Saturday that the 173 passengers aboard United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, were alerted to a problem.

According to CNN, witnesses said the fire broke out as the plane was taking off. The broadcaster reported that it was caused when a tyre exploded and flew into the engine.

Witness Dennis Ostolaza told the television network he heard a "propeller sound" like a military helicopter as the plane lifted off, with "black smoke and fire.

Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said she was unable to confirm the network’s initial reports.

She told the AFP news agency that the crew had reported an issue with the aircraft’s left engine. She said it wasn’t long before the engine began to operate normally again, but "as a precaution, the flight returned to Newark."

Story continues below…

The Boeing 757 plane landed safely back at Newark Liberty International Airport at midnight GMT on Sunday - just two hours after take off.

The Local/AFP/ccp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:51 August 19, 2012 by tumanskaya
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:07 August 19, 2012 by AirForceGuy
This was really an old Continental Airlines flight and plane, no doubt... and when I say OLD, I mean OLD....
16:26 August 19, 2012 by zeddriver
#1, All FAA certified aircraft Fly/land with half their engines gone.

#2, Unless the companies were to X-ray every tire before take off, After landing. It would be impossible to predict a tire failure. As 99% of tire failures are internal failures.

#3, Even with terrorist threats, Equipment malfunctions, And pilot errors. Flying is far and above the safest way to travel. From 1959-2011 there were 30,200 killed in aircraft accidents. In the year 2004. 1,500,000 died in car crashes.

But of course "aircraft accident" is just so much more sexy sounding to a journalist.
19:05 August 19, 2012 by The-ex-pat
@ zeddriver

To add to what you said, the most stressful time for an aircraft tyre is during taxi out to and from the runway. Taxiing under high weights on hot tarmac along with going around corners and sharp turns is were the heat build up is and the side wall loads are at the maximum. Take off and landing is a holiday for tyres. They have been designed for the stress loading. Most tyre failures can be traced back to a taxiing incident.
04:02 August 20, 2012 by wood artist
That's why when I fly across the pond to Europe, I fly Lufthansa. Flying domestic is...no fun, no service, no food, and...well, dangerous. I'd rather pay a bit more, check my bags, and enjoy the ride.

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