Passengers on board a Los Angeles-bound flight were given a scare this week when the plane was forced into an emergency landing by a fire in one of its engines. The Viva Aerobus jet was traveling to LA from Guadalajara in Mexico when one of its engines burst into flames “minutes” after takeoff.
According to NBC News, Viva Aerobus flight VB518 departed from the Mexican city of Guadalajara at 10 p.m. local time. Shortly after departure, sparks were seen flying from one of the Airbus A320’s engines. NBC News reports:
“Passengers had seen sparks and flames emitting from the right engine of the plane, sending some into a panic, according to a report from KABC.
“The flight was forced to turn around and landed safely at Guadalajara International Airport around 10:45 p.m. (11:45 p.m. ET), Viva Aerobus said.”
The Airbus A320-232 narrow body plane was reportedly launched into service in 2006, and is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney engines.
The cause of the engine fire is not yet known, but a statement released by Viva Aerobus said that “metal friction” in the number two engine caused “sparks to come out.” It added that it would open an investigation into the incident to uncover more details.
The airline said: “We deeply regret the inconveniences that this circumstance may have caused, which is being analyzed and evaluated by the airline and with the manufacturers of the aircraft (Airbus) and engines (Pratt & Whitney).”
According to Viva Aerobus, all passengers and crew members on board the flight were OK following the emergency landing back in Guadalajara. The flight operator added that the crew “provided timely and professional attention to passengers that so required it.”
NBC added that “passengers on the flight were accommodated in a hotel” for the night before resuming their journey to LA on Wednesday morning.