Southwest plane makes emergency landing after flames seen shooting out of engine

The airline said in a statement that its Boeing 737 experienced 'a mechanical issue shortly after takeoff.'

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Thursday, August 17, 2023
Southwest plane makes emergency landing after flames seen
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The Cancun-bound flight was forced to turn around and make an emergency landing in Houston after flames were seen shooting out of the engine.

HOUSTON, Texas -- A Southwest plane made an emergency landing in Houston Tuesday evening after one of its engines apparently caught fire.

Shortly after taking off from William P. Hobby Airport, the Cancun-bound flight was forced to turn around. Videos taken from the ground show flames appear to shoot out of the engine.

Passengers Jordan and Lynde Kleinecke spoke to ABC News about the mid-air scare.

"We felt like a little air pocket going up. And then I heard the boom ... and then you started smelling the fuel," Jordan Kleinecke said.

"When the pilot came on and told us [that] we were going back [to the airport], he hardly finished that statement before he hung up the microphone. We were kind of like, 'What does that mean? What does that mean?'" Lynde Kleinecke added.

The aircraft landed safely, spending a total of 27 minutes in the air, according to data from Flight Aware. The plane was taken out of service, and passengers were able to continue their trip on another plane, according to Southwest.

Southwest said in a statement that its Boeing 737 experienced "a mechanical issue shortly after takeoff" and "was taken out of service for review."

Federal Aviation Administration said it will investigate the incident.