Engine trouble, smoke, force Delta flight to return to airport

Story highlights

  • Passengers aboard Delta flight say they heard crash, saw fire and smoke
  • Smoke inside the cabin followed report of engine trouble, airline says
  • A Delta spokeswoman says the airline can't confirm the reports of fire
Engine problems forced the pilot of a Delta Air Lines aircraft to turn back Thursday night shortly after takeoff from Atlanta, the company said Friday.
The aircraft returned to Atlanta without incident, spokeswoman Gina Laughlin said.
Passengers aboard Flight 1442 from Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina, told CNN affiliate WSOC that they had been airborne about 10 or 20 minutes when one of the engines appeared to catch on fire. Laughlin could not confirm the report of flames, but said crew members reported smoke in the cabin following the incident.
Passenger Ginger Heath said the incident began with a shaking sensation, followed by "sparks, a great big boom and lots and lots of fire" from the engine. "After that smoke starting coming out of the air vents."
Other passengers told CNN affiliate WBTV that they heard a "huge crashing sound" and felt what seemed like "bad turbulence."
"I kind of thought I was going to die for a second," one passenger interviewed by WBTV said.
"A couple of people got hysterical," passenger Atiim Browne told WSOC. "The lady behind me was crying. A couple of people kind of looked at it, you know, as life flashing before their eyes and stuff like that. But again we got back on the floor within a couple of minutes so it wasn't too bad."
Delta mechanics were inspecting the aircraft Friday, Laughlin said.