American Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing Due To Engine Fire

NBC5 is reporting that a Chicago-bound American Airlines flight has made an emergency landing in St. Louis after taking off and being forced to return to the airport due to an engine fire. No one was hurt, but the incident is very likely to cause delays. From NBC5:

A passenger on the flight, Lane Harris, told MSNBC that he credited the pilot for bringing the plane in as smoothly as possible, although the landing was rough.

“We slammed the ground pretty hard,” he said.

A runway at the airport has been shut down, which is likely to affect many major airports across the country.

There were 139 passengers on the jet and many were en route to Chicago to catch other flights. The flight also had five crew members.

Jet Engine Fire Grounds Flight To Chicago [NBC5]
(Photo:Ack Ook)

UPDATE: New info posted. Sounds like the pilot is extremely good at his job:

About 5 minutes into the flight, the pilot came on,” said Lane Howard. “He was very calm — none of us knew something serious was going on. He just said, ‘You know, we’re going to go back and land and see what’s happening.’ And as we came closer to land, we started realizing that something more was going on, because the plane was wobbling back and forth on the horizon.

“After we came to stop and people applauded that we were safe, he told us that there was an engine fire in the left one, and he had it shut down, and that’s why we didn’t have the power to land. He said he lost his hydraulics, so he couldn’t lift the wings up and down to guide the plane.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. JayXJ says:

    I doubt any of the passengers care about the delay. They’re alive to BE delayed…

  2. pegr says:

    I was on a flight that experienced engine failure at take-off. I wasn’t in a hurry to get back on another plane, frankly…

  3. Arlahna says:

    @JayP71: Precisely. Better to be alive and delayed than dead and heading to wherever your religion says you’re headed.

  4. I’m having trouble understanding how this post is consumer-related.

    There are plenty of ways to extinguish an engine fire from the cockpit, and it sounds like the fire dealt with safely and quickly.

  5. Caroofikus says:

    Did the passengers get to deplane, or were they left on board as a matter of “policy”?

  6. TPK says:

    Sounds like the pilot did a great job.. the article is worth a look.

  7. StevieD says:

    With all the crying about airline service, it is important to be fair and show the effects of a single airline event upon the entire system.

    The article mentioned that the incident “is very likely to cause delays”.


    Many years ago I was flying via AA from New Orleans to Burbank connecting through Dallas. The plane was nearly 2.5 hours late getting into New Orleans from Nashville. AA made up some time at New Orleans deplaning and replaning passengers and then found a nice tail wind so the fully loaded DC-10 was just under 1.5 hours late arriving at Dallas. It was late in the day. My connecting flight to Burbank was the the last flight of the day to Burbank. AA held that flight and nearly every other outbound flight from Dallas waiting for that fully loaded DC-10 to arrive.

    Put a huge strain on the system. About 3 dozen flights were being shown delayed on the information screens on a nice clear day.

    Found out the reason for my plane’s late arrival was due to an medical issue with a patient that required the plane to return to Nashville.

    Things happen.

    But the people on my flight to Burbank thought I was the reason for the delay. I heard a lot of very rude comments from fellow passengers.

    Just remember that things happen the next time you complain about service.

  8. Chongo says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: Tell you what… go to some other blog comment section and think about it for as long as you need. In the meantime, we human beings who like to participate in conversations instead of complaining about some sort of imaginary rules for the topics on this site, will be here having fun.

  9. Meg Marco says:

    @Chongo: <3

  10. Buran says:

    We have a second runway at KSTL now that we don’t really need, except at times like this.

    kstl – Google Maps

    It’s the one that looks like it originally wasn’t there (because it wasn’t). Click “hybrid” and you’ll see the runway disappear because it was built THAT recently — when there isn’t enough traffic at the airport to make it worthwhile — and the moldering stagnating terminal dates from the 1970s and is getting tons and tons of complaints. Way to go, City of St. Louis!

    Anyway. If traffic can be diverted to this runway, I can’t see a huge problem.

  11. yg17 says:


    The exact same plane after an emergency landing at JFK a few years back….kinda makes you wonder if AA isn’t inspecting planes as well as they should be, especially after being involved in incidents like this.

  12. @meghannmarco: Thanks, Meghan, for cogently answering my question about the consumer worthiness of this post while simultaneously encouraging a commenter who “likes to piss people off”.

    Seriously – I’ve been contributing stories and comments here for over a year, and I don’t see, other than an anomolous safety issue, what this is all about. Delays? Do we post about thunderstorms here, too? Does AA have some ongoing safety issues I haven’t heard about?

    Not trying to be snarky; I was genuinely looking for an answer to my previous question.

  13. I would now like to admit that if I was on that plane and the guy said there was an engine fire, I’d have been the one to yell out “Holy @%!#”.

  14. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I was on a US Air flight out of Philadelphia a few years ago..we got smoke in the cabin about 5 minutes after takeoff (smelled like a minor electrical fire), so we turned around and made an emergency landing.

    Once we got back on the ground, one of the passengers was really being an obnoxious jerk and throwing a hissy-fit about how he was an important person and how he was going to be late..etc, etc. Finally, one of the gate agents yelled “Do YOU want to go back up in THAT plane tonight?” The guy finally shut up, and I think that put things in perspective for the rest of us (it certainly did for me).

  15. thepounder says:

    Kudos to the pilot for keeping it together and taking care of business.

  16. bilge says:

    The pilot couldn’t lift the wings up and down to guide the plane? WTF?

  17. Jim C. says:

    I live near O’Hare, and I saw my first engine fire on a departing flight a few months ago one evening around 9:30 PM. I thought for sure the plane was going to crash, but I didn’t hear or see anything like that. IIRC the mishap didn’t even make the TV news till the next day. By then, of course, I had read that the plane returned safely to the airport.

    These situations are definitely dangerous, and the pilot is to be congratulated for handling it. But the statistics I saw said there are an average of about 2 incidents like this in the US every three days. That’s out of the thousands of flights each day. Obviously crashes are far rarer.

  18. Jim C. says:

    Found it. That was back in March on a United flight. []

  19. calpchen says:

    @bilge: The guy probably meant that the pilot had limited control of the aircraft due to partial loss of the hydraulics system. It’s hard to imagine that the aircraft had lost all its hydraulics with one good engine still operating.

  20. Chongo says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: even though I usually do not like to make these types of follow up reponses… I must say… way to take things out of context. You quoted me as saying I like to piss people off. However, that comment was in response to someone else telling me I shouldn’t click “RESPOND TO ALL” when replying to one of my FRIENDS emails about “Bill Gates is going to pay you to forward this email” type BS. I purposfully do this and link to articles likes SNOPES or what have, you so that the people who recieved this email DO NOT continue to forward these on to other friends. Quite frankly they (being again, my FRIENDS) deserve a little public shaming.

    Buddy, this place ain’t the last bastion of consumer issues… This is an entertainment blog whose THEME is consumer issues. Really, just go outside and take a nice deep breath of fresh air and unplug a little. Then, when you feel the writers of this blog don’t owe you anything anymore, come back and have some fun.

  21. skiracerboyy says:

    i was in st. louis lambert international airport when the emergency landing occured and no runways were shut down my plane left on time and so did all of the others i saw!