Sunday, August 24, 2008

Two Emergency Landings Yesterday at San Francisco

Two Chicago-bound planes taking off from San Francisco International Airport this weekend developed engine problems and had to return. No injuries were reported in either incident.

The first plane, United Airlines flight 158 to Chicago, left San Francisco around 10:30 p.m. Friday. But one of its engine compressors stalled, said United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski. With one engine remaining, the pilot turned the plane around and landed about 30 minutes after takeoff.

Smoke entered the cabin after the plane landed and the engines were shut down, Urbanski said. The airline was investigating the source of the smoke. United provided overnight accommodations to the 240 passengers.

Then, around 1 p.m. Saturday, the right-side engine of a Northwest Airlines flight caught fire shortly after takeoff. An eyewitness who contacted The Chronicle reported seeing two fireballs shoot from the engine as the plane left.

Airport Duty Manager Dan D'Innocenti said the fire was quickly extinguished once the crew shut off the engine. The flight - also bound for Chicago, with roughly 110 passengers - returned to the airport and taxied back to the terminal.

"Once the fire was out, it was not a problem," D'Innocenti said.

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