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A Philippine Airlines Plane Made an Emergency Landing in LA in Flames

A passenger called it the "scariest 15 minutes" of her life.
November 22, 2019, 5:51am
philippine airlines flight
For illustrative purposes only. Photo by joolsgriff via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0). 

How would you react if the plane you were riding suddenly bursted out flames shortly after take off?

This is what happened to passengers on board a Philippine Airlines (PAL) Boeing 777 aircraft earlier today, when one of the plane’s engines caught fire shortly after departing from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for Manila.

The plane quickly headed back to LAX and made an emergency landing. In a statement, PAL confirmed that its Flight PR113 did experience a problem shortly after takeoff, but that there were no reported injuries. It assured that all 347 passengers and 18 crew members safely disembarked in LAX.

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"It cannot be denied that they were alarmed by what they saw, but the pilot safely landed the aircraft. In fact, based on the report of the captain, the passengers burst into applause upon landing," PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna told CNN Philippines.

Geri Camahort Lamata, a passenger onboard the flight, recounted her experience, calling it the “scariest 15 minutes" of her life in a Facebook post.

According to Lamata, the plane had jolted with “a very loud bang” before a flight attendant ran to speak to the purser.

“That's when I definitely knew something was wrong. It stopped shortly after and the pilots, right away, announced that we had engine problems, but that everything was under control. And then they landed the plane safely," she told CNN Philippines.

She also posted a video taken by another passenger, which shows the flames close to the aircraft’s wing.

According to ABC7 News, Adam Taylor, another passenger, shared in a Facebook post that the engine backfired and shot flames while his toddler was sitting right next to the window seat.

Passenger Walter Baumann also told ABC7 News that when he saw the “flashes of light,” he thought it was some kind of “sunlight,” but as soon as he heard “boom, boom, boom,” he looked out the window to see “balls of fires just shooting out of the engine.”

In a Facebook post, Baumann shows his window view of flames spewing from the engine.

In a comment on Facebook, he mentioned that there were no other flights available and that he would be stuck in LA for two more days.

You can also hear the emergency report from the pilot saying “Mayday!” in a post from witter user @TomPodolec.

According to United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesperson Ian Gregor, “one engine was lost, but the plane landed without incident."

While it was initially speculated to be a "classic compressor stall," the FAA has yet to determine an official cause.

PAL’s Villaluna said the airline is assisting all affected passengers with their rebooking and hotel accommodations, and that the plane will be grounded for the next three days, as they look into what caused the incident and review the aircraft’s history and maintenance.

"We take this as an isolated incident because this has not happened (before)," Villaluna said.

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