Engine Bursts Into Flames on Boeing Plane With 468 Aboard


A Boeing 747-400 with 468 people aboard was forced to make an emergency landing in Indonesia on Wednesday after one of its engines caught fire and began shooting out flames during takeoff.

The Garuda Indonesia flight was bound for Medina, Saudi Arabia, which is the entry point for many Muslims making their pilgrimage to Mecca. It left from Indonesia’s international airport in Makassar, where clips showed one of the plane’s four engines becoming engulfed in flames during takeoff on Wednesday evening.

Videos of the engine fire were shared online by JACDEC, a plane crash data evaluation firm, which showed that the flames began just as the plane had lifted from the runway.

That meant it was too late to abandon takeoff, and the plane went airborne with the flames present. JACDEC said the 747 completed an approximately 90-minute holding pattern before safely returning to and landing in Makassar.

A statement from Garuda, Indonesia’s flag-carrier airline, said sparks were spotted in an engine by a pilot and the decision to scrap the journey was made immediately.

After safely landing, the airline said it grounded the 22-year-old plane to conduct an investigation. It said the original flight’s passengers were boarded onto a replacement flight that same day.

Indonesian air travel has been notorious for incidents over recent decades. Each of the country’s airlines were banned over E.U. and U.S. airspace in 2007 but were reinstated in 2016 and 2018. Since then, Garuda has joined the SkyTeam airline alliance, which includes North American carriers Delta Air Lines and Aeroméxico.

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