Passengers and witnesses on the ground saw a frightening sight captured on video Thursday when the engine on a Boeing 777 carrying a Philippine Airlines flight started spewing flames, prompting the pilot to make a mayday call.
Flight 113 departed Los Angeles International Airport around 11:15 a.m. heading to Manila. The flight was no more than several minutes in the air when the pilot said there was an emergency, and a possible mechanical issue, an LAX spokesman said.
Air traffic control transcripts reveal the severity of the emergency. A mayday call meant the pilot believed the situation was life-threatening.
“I started shaking because I was horrified, like, what is going on?" one passenger, Debbie Syson, said.
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Inside the cabin, Adam Taylor was recording his daughter, Maui.
“I wanted to film her reaction taking off on a plane. When I saw the flames I didn't know what to think. Is this like a car when it backfires?” he said.
Video shows how Maui’s reaction changes as she hears the booms, then flashes of light. Taylor says he didn't worry until others did.
“I know flight attendants aren't supposed to panic, so at that point I'm like this is pretty serious,” he said.
With so much fuel left and 342 people on board, the emergency landing was so rough, it blew the tires.
"Boom! And the wheels all popped. It was crazy," passenger Eugene Lowe said.
As a result, those flying on Philippines Airlines tonight are traveling with more pre-flight jitters than usual.
“Looking at the video, my God! I wouldn't know what to think,” traveler Dwight Lim said.
The flight returned to LAX and was met by the fire department.
“All 342 passengers and 18 crew members are safe and were able to disembark from the airplane using regular airstairs,” Philippine Airlines said in a statement.
The plane was not on fire as it landed, despite video from witness Andrew Blake on the ground showing the right engine coughing up flames.
Passengers were bused back to the terminal. The airline said it was helping travelers get on other flights to their destinations, which for the Taylor family means staying at a nearby hotel, coming back to LAX Friday morning, shuttling to Ontario, and getting on a flight to Taiwan before reaching their final destination of Bali.
It will be a long travel day for them, but passengers from Flight 113 were just happy to be back on the ground.