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United Airlines 747 returns to SF after engine failure

United Airlines 747 returns to SF after engine failure

A United Airlines flight out of San Francisco International Monday afternoon was forced to turn around and head back to the airport after having to shut down one of its four engines, airport officials told Patch.

United says the plane with 202 passengers and a crew of 15 has landed safely.

However, the airline could not confirm reports of fire or smoke coming from the plane at any point of the flight. The Federal Aviation Administration initially reported that 231 people were aboard the jet. The pilot did not declare an emergency as a result of the engine problem.

Sam Smith said he had just left the office in San Bruno around noon for lunch when he heard a loud bang.

UA flight 873 suffered problems nearly immediately after takeoff at 11.36am PT, witnesses said, with flames coming out of the plane's left inboard engine, accompanied by loud bangs. He gave no further details.

The FAA is investigating what caused the engine problem. It can be caused by a collision with birds or by unusual weather, according to aviation experts.

United is working to place the passengers on other flights, Benson said. Live television coverage of the plane's landing showed no sign of smoke or flames. Pratt was not immediately available to comment.

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