Officials: Engine fire forces Delta flight to London to turn back to Atlanta

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(Courtesy: Paul Egas / Twitter)

A Delta flight from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to London has landed safely in London after having to turn around Wednesday evening due to the engine catching fire moments after taking off. 

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Delta flight 30 from Atlanta to London declared an emergency shortly after takeoff. The Airbus A330 took off at 5:51 p.m.

Delta Airlines said the plane had problems with its number 2 engine. Officials said the flight declared an emergency. The plane turned back to the airport around Stone Mountain and made a successful landing at 6:34 p.m.


FOX 5 photographer Aiun Nettles was onboard at the time. He reported the incident happened less than a half hour into the flight. Nettles said the flight was a bit bumpy and any indication that something was wrong came about 20 minutes into the flight when the screen on the entertainment system went dark.

"The pilot came on and said 'guys, make sure you have your seatbelts on, we have to turn the plane around, there's a fault alarm that came up on one of our engines and we'll be landing in Atlanta in about 7 minutes,'" Nettles told FOX 5's Russ Spencer by phone. "So, it was very calm throughout the entire process and you really could not tell what was going on until we landed back in Atlanta."

FOX 5 viewer Paul Egas caught the plane landing with a flame streak appearing to come from one of the jet engines.


From inside the plane, Nettles spotted smoke pouring out from under the wing. A video he shot shows firefighters pulling up to the plane and spraying the engine down.

"And as soon as we landed, emergency vehicles were there to put foam on the plane," said Nettles.

Atlanta Fire officials said they hosed down the smoking engine using foam.

"Once we landed in Atlanta, if you're close enough to the right engine, you're able to immediately see a cloud of black smoke coming from the right engine," Nettles said. "Once that did, a lot of people took out their cell phones and started recording."

The plane was towed back to the concourse and passengers were able to deplane using the jet bridge.

Nettles said the Delta crews both on the flight deck and in the cabin were amazing throughout the entire incident, offering updates and instructions, but mostly keeping everyone calm.


"The crew and the pilots, they tried to keep everyone calm, so there never was a moment of panic on the flight, it's more so a moment of calm," Nettles said.

Nettles said the Atlanta-based airline was accommodating passengers waiting for another flight. In a statement to FOX 5 News, they wrote:

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we apologize to our customers on this flight.”

No one was injured, and Delta flight 30 eventually landed safely in London early Thursday morning. 

This happened on the same day a Southwest Airlines flight was forced to land in Nashville due to a bird strike and a day after one person was killed aboard a separate Southwest Airlines plane when an engine exploded inflight, killing a passenger.