This is the moment the captain of a Boeing 747 told Miami International Airport’s tower that he needed to return because one of the engines caught fire shortly after take off.
‘Mayday, mayday…We have an engine fire. Request access back to the airport. No, we’ll go ahead and land. We have five souls onboard,’ the pilot can be heard saying in audio first obtained by NBC Miami.
The captain said the incident involved engine number two and it occurred ‘on the climb out’ of the airport. Officials later said that a ‘softball sized’ hole was found above the engine after it was examined upon landing.
Footage circulating on social media showed sparks shooting out of the Atlas Air jet’s tail after suffering engine failure on Thursday night. Officials have confirmed that the engine caught fire but said that an investigation will determine what happened.
The individual filming can be heard swearing in shock as flames repeatedly lit up the night sky.
Flightaware data shows that the over $400million cargo plane took off from Miami airport at 10.32pm with the pilot then having the make an emergency landing just minutes later at 10.46pm after traveling around 60 miles.
A Miami-area resident took the shocking video showing the flames flying through sky after the plane left the runway
The Atlas Air plane shown back on the tarmac around 15 minutes after it left MIA
This map shows the flight path of the Atlas Air 747 which covered around 60 miles
Atlas Air said in a statement that it returned safely to the airport with no injuries reported.
‘The crew followed all standard procedures and safely returned to MIA,’ the company said in a statement.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded and no injuries were reported, Miami International Airport said in a separate statement.
It continued on its planned journey to San Juan, Puerto Rico, later in the evening.
The airplane was ‘shooting sparks’ as it flew overhead, said Melanie Adaros, who was out for a walk with her mother and was about to turn into her home when she heard and saw an approaching plane.
‘There’s always planes flying overhead but they’re little planes,’ she said.
Flightaware data said that the plane flew on from Puerto Rico to Bogota, Colombia, in the early hours of Friday without incident.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded and no injuries were reported, Miami International Airport said in a separate statement
‘But this didn’t sound like a little plane. It sounded very low, so I turned… You always see a plane going up or going down. This one was just at a steady level and it was shooting sparks. It was very surreal.’
Adaros recorded it with her phone, wondering ‘is it falling? Is it going to explode?’ she said.
‘It seemed to do a big, wide, swerving turn’ in the direction of MIA, she said.
Adaros, who lives near MIA about 15 miles southwest of Miami, said she shared her video with that airport, which confirmed a few minutes later that it had landed safely at Miami International.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Atlas Air for more information on Thursday’s incident.
This aviation incident is the latest to involve beleaguered aircraft builder Boeing.
The aircraft is eight years old, Flightradar24 data showed. The 747-8 model is powered by four General Electric GEnx engines, according to Boeing’s website.
GE was not immediately available for a comment.
Engine failures are rare but are potentially dangerous when rotating parts pierce the outer casing – an event known as an uncontained engine failure.
Atlas Air, whose customers include parcel delivery giants DHL and FedEx, went private last year when it was bought by a group led by private equity Apollo Global Management.
Once known as the ‘Queen of the Skies’, the Boeing 747 revolutionized air travel and was the world’s first twin-aisle wide-body jet.
But technological advances made it possible for dual-engine jets to replicate its range and capacity at lower cost and Boeing decided in July 2020 to end 747 production.
Alaska flight 1282 left Portland just after 5pm Friday when a window blew out at 16,000 feet and federal investigators are now trying to hunt down the missing piece
Earlier this week, the company announced that it would increase quality inspections of its 737 Max 9 aircraft in response to the failure of an emergency exit door panel on an Alaska Airlines flight.
Boeing’s reputation as the premier American aircraft manufacturer has been tarnished by a series of manufacturing flaws that led some airlines to hold off aircraft purchases or go with its European rival, Airbus.
Federal regulators grounded the 737 Max until safety checks were done on the door plugs of every one of the planes in service in the US.
The company’s shares are down more than a fifth since the door blow out.
The airplane maker has seen its market capitalization decline by nearly $30 billion, to $123.74 billion, since the January 5 incident.
Last Sunday, two Boeing planes clipped wings as they were taxiing at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
The left wing tip of Flight 11 from All Nippon Airways, a Japanese airline, struck the rear of Delta Air Lines Flight 2122 at around 6.30pm local time, FAA spokesperson Tony Molinaro said.
Both planes were of Boeing design – The All Nippon Airways flight was a Boeing 777, and the Delta Air Lines aircraft was a Boeing 717.
No injuries were reported, and the Federal Aviation Administration says it will investigate the incident.
‘Customers deplaned normally at the gate and the aircraft is being evaluated by Delta´s maintenance technicians,’ Delta said in a statement.
In January 2023, Atlas Air took delivery of Boeing’s final 747-8 as the company discontinued the brand. The airline is the largest operator of freighter 747s.
‘We’ve carried everything on the 747 from race cars to racehorses, from rocket parts to satellites, electronics, overnight express shipments – and various forms of perishables like fresh flowers, vegetables and fish,’ John Dietrich, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide, said at the time.
‘And we are proud to serve the U.S. military as the largest provider of their airlift – carrying both troops and cargo – and the 747 is the backbone of this critical work,’ he added at the time.