A PHILIPPINE Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Los Angeles on Thursday, November 21 minutes following takeoff after one of its engines caught fire.
Manila-bound flight PR113 left Los Angeles International Airport around at 11:45 a.m. and returned around noon after the Boeing 777 aircraft starting emitting flames from the right-side due to a mechanical issue.
In a video from a witness on the ground — that has since been picked up and circulated by ABC News — flames and smoke could be seen coming out of the right engine.
Another video taken from inside the plane by passenger Adam Taylor showed flames spewing out from underneath the aircraft’s wing.
Philippine Airlines in a statement confirmed that the flight had experienced “a technical problem” but did not give any further details as to the cause.
The airline praised “the calm professionalism exhibited by our experienced flight and cabin crew, headed by Captain Triston Simeon and Purser Joanne Marie Dirige, in executing the unscheduled landing and taking care of our passengers.”
The plane was carrying 342 passengers and 18 crew members. No injuries have been reported.
Rupert Ouano, a passenger on the flight, detailed the experience in a Facebook post. “I was calm but I had to talk it out with a fellow passenger to take my mind off from the sound of metal, the sight of engine smoke and fire and finally the bumpy landing…it did [sink] in…that I just survived what could [have been] the worst situation and that I am alive,” he wrote.
He added that passengers were deplaned from the flight and noticed Los Angeles Fire Department trucks hosing down the busted tires. There was no fire on the aircraft once it landed back at the airport, an LAX spokesperson said.
Following the incident, Ouano told the Asian Journal that “the pilot and whole crew did an excellent job in keeping us calm. They are trained for emergency situations like this and their actions were commendable as best practices for diffusing anxiety in emergency landings.”
Charles Yao, who was also on Thursday’s flight, told the Asian Journal that he noticed crew on the plane before takeoff.
“I caught a glimpse of them but can not verify badges or tags. Another passenger mentioned their presence on the plane. Perhaps they knew of something wrong before the flight,” he claimed.
He added that “It took a while for them to announce what was happening with the wing catching fire and failing, though I understand the maintaining of composure while under duress.”
After not hearing anything from the airline a day after, Yao called and only was then rescheduled for another flight on Saturday night.
“I left my baggage with PAL because the wait would take a while and the counter staff suggested to leave it with them and they will just transfer it to the next flight,” Yao said, adding that the airline offered hotel stays and $20 airport food vouchers to passengers but reportedly would not reimburse him for his rideshare trip back home on Thursday.
Philippine Airlines’ Los Angeles airport team said it was helping passengers with flight rebooking and would cooperate with the investigations into the incident.
“We are extending all necessary assistance and are arranging to rebook them on alternative flights to Manila. In the meantime, our passengers were given meals and hotel accommodation,” the statement said.
It added, “We affirm that safety is our top priority and that Philippine Airlines is fully cooperating with the concerned airport and aviation authorities.”