Bird Strike Forces Plane to Return: Officials

Monday, Jul 14, 2014  |  Updated 6:52 AM PDT
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Bird Strike Forces Plane to Return: Officials

NBC Bay Area

An Air India flight leaving Newark Airport was forced to turn around shortly after takeoff because of an engine fire, officials say.

Air India Flight 144 to Mumbai left the airport at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The pilot reported a fire in an engine on the plane's left side shortly after takeoff and the engine soon shut down.

The plane returned to Newark and landed safely just after 5 p.m. The plane had "multiple" blown tires as a result of the fire.

None of the crew or the 313 passengers on board were hurt. They were taken off the plane without incident. 

The fire was initially attributed to a bird strike but a Port Authority spokeswoman says that information was incorrect.

Maywood resident Sheryle Robert heard the roar of the Boeing 777 as it descended.

"Lo and behold, there's a huge jumbo jet right over my head, and it's pretty scary because I'm not used to seeing that around here," she said.

"I was just like, 'Why is this huge plane flying so incredibly low in this neighborhood?' And then we see it just do a hard turn, it was just circling. Very scary,'" she added.

-- Michael George contributed to this report.

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