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Engine fire forces Southwest flight to return to Salt Lake City

Updated February 27, 2018 - 4:56 am

SALT LAKE CITY — An engine fire forced a Southwest Airlines jet headed to Los Angeles to return to Salt Lake City shortly after takeoff Monday, an airport official said.

The Boeing 737-700 landed safely, said Salt Lake City International Airport spokeswoman Nancy Vollmer.

Witness Al Oshiro said he was getting out of his car as he arrived at work when he saw the plane overhead.

“All of a sudden I started seeing these orange flames just coming off the right side of the engine,” said Oshiro, an aerospace engineer for Moog Inc. He heard a sound “so loud that a lot of people came out of the building because people thought the building was getting hit.”

There were about 110 passengers and five crew members aboard the aircraft, Southwest Airlines said in a statement. The passengers were put on another plane to Los Angeles.

Southwest said the pilots returned to the airport after they received a cockpit indicator of “a potential performance issue” with one of the jet’s engines.

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