An American Airlines flight landed safely back at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport late Wednesday after sparks were seen shooting from one of its engines.
American Airlines Flight 438 had taken off for Seattle at about 11 p.m. Wednesday when it experienced a mechanical issue with an engine compressor, according to an AA spokesperson.
Cellphone video from one of the 139 passengers on board the flight shows heavy sparks coming from what appears to the wing on the left side of the Airbus 321.
“The engine was not on fire,” an AA spokesperson emphasized in a statement to NBC DFW.
However, Lynn Lunsford, of the Federal Aviation Administration, appeared to indicate otherwise in a separate statement.
“The pilot reported an engine problem that was causing compressor stalls, which would shoot flames out the back of the engine and definitely be visible,” Lunsford said.
Matty Hops was a passenger on Flight 438, who tweeted multiple times during and after the ordeal.
“Flight to Seattle just had catastrophic engine failure…. So, love you guys,” Hops tweeted.
“It’s just a big concerning when there is an explosion on takeoff and then you see the one of the plane engines on fire. Not the best look,” Hops tweeted minutes later, once on the ground.
A statement from American Airlines, and subsequent tweets from the airline’s official account, indicated that the airline was rebooking passengers on other flights.
“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience, and we are working to get them to Seattle as soon as possible,” the statement noted.