Video Shows LA-Bound Plane's Engine Catching Fire Minutes After Takeoff

Sparks and flames cause panic onboard.

The engine of a plane traveling from Mexico to Los Angeles apparently caught fire minutes after takeoff on Tuesday, forcing pilots to turn around for an emergency landing. The scary scene was caught on video and reportedly caused several of those aboard to panic. Read on to find out what happened and what an expert says may have caused the fire.   

1
Sparks and Flames Seen, Panic Ensues

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The Viva Aerobus flight, an Airbus A320-200, had just departed from Guadalajara around 10 p.m. local time. About 10 minutes after takeoff, passengers saw sparks and flames coming from the plane's right engine. Some reported hearing an explosion.  That sent some of those aboard into a panic. Some people began to cry, scream and pray, KABC reported. Keep reading to see the video.

2
Pilots Shut Down Engine, Turned Around

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News reports indicate that the pilots stopped climbing at 13,000 feet and executed an emergency shutdown of the affected engine. They turned the plane around and landed safely back in Guadalajara, about 45 minutes after their initial departure. No injuries were reported.

3
What Caused the Fire?

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The cause of the engine fire is unclear; there are a number of possible explanations. "Most of these types of failures can be attributed to mechanical issues in the engine, such as turbine or oil leaks and related mechanical breakdowns, as well as external conditions such as contamination, bird strikes, or unusual weather conditions (such as heavy precipitation)," said an expert with Plane & Pilot magazine. None of those have yet been ruled in or out; the cause is being investigated.

4
"Friction of Metals" Blamed By Airline

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In a statement, Viva Aerobus said the engine sparks were caused by a "friction of metals." According to the airline, passengers on the flight were put up in a hotel overnight and were able to complete their trip the next morning.  "We deeply regret the inconveniences that this circumstance may have caused, which will be analyzed and evaluated by the airline and the competent authorities," the airline said in its press release. "Viva Aerobus reaffirms its commitment to safety on each of its flights, the company's number one priority."

5
Second Recent Emergency for Carrier

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This was the second emergency landing involving a Viva Aerobus plane in recent months, the Daily Mail reported. On May 22, Flight 1281 from Villahermosa to Mexico City had to turn back when a bird struck an engine. That flight also landed without injuries.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more
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