CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Emergency crews responded to the scene of a reported fire on a plane at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Wednesday.
Charlotte Fire arrived at the airport around 7:45 a.m. Fire trucks were seen surrounding an American Airlines jet on the tarmac shortly after 8 a.m.
American Airlines said that Flight 1668, which was heading to Chicago, experienced a mechanical issue shortly after takeoff and returned to the airport. An American spokesperson said no fire or smoke was present on takeoff.
American confirmed the plane landed safely, and no one was hurt during the incident.
In a new video sent to NBC Charlotte, you could see fire shooting from the engine and hear a popping noise. A witness who was at the airport outlook said he watched the plane take off and knew there was a problem immediately.
“We heard two big pop sounds and then when it started to lift, we saw fire come out of the other side of the airplane of the engine,” said Michael Boatwright. “And when it got to make a turn up higher, the flames were real strong, just went pow pow.”
Ethan Sunshine was among the 187 people on board flight 1668.
“I don’t know how to describe it but it was immediately clear there was a problem,” Sunshine told NBC Charlotte by phone. “Then immediately after that, it made that noise maybe three or four times, this really quick sharp thing, a bit like an engine stall.”
NBC Charlotte obtained the audio recording between the pilot and air traffic control.
“We had an engine number two stall on takeoff, not having any indication of fire at this time, but we would like to roll the trucks and if we didn’t say it already declare emergency for 36 center,” the pilot said.
The entire flight lasted 34 minutes. American Airlines says all passengers were put on another flight to Chicago.
An airlines spokesperson told NBC Charlotte the mechanical problem involved the right engine, but investigators still have to figure out exactly what went wrong.