United A320 Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Malfunction, Sounded 'Like a Gunshot'
A United aircraft flying from Fort Myers to Newark was forced to make an emergency landing back at its departure city on Wednesday after experiencing an engine malfunction.
About five or 10 minutes after the flight took off from Fort Myers (RSW) at 12:12pm, passengers reported hearing a loud noise coming from one of the plane's engines. Cliff Maloney, a frequent traveler for his job, said that the noise sounded like a gunshot or cannon.
"We've all seen [the movie] 'Sully' so that was my first gut reaction, 'what if the other engine is out and we're just drifting?'" Maloney told Fox News. "All of us on the plane were worried and obviously fearing the worst."
Shortly after the alarming noise, the pilot came over the Airbus A320's intercom to let the passengers know that they would be making an emergency landing. He told the 79 passengers on board to follow the crew's instructions.
"The tone in his voice was very reassuring and calming," Maloney said. "It was like he had full control of the situation."
According to flight-tracking website FlightAware, the A320 — registration N443UA — landed back at RSW at 12:58pm, just more than 45 minutes after takeoff. Upon landing, an emergency crew met the aircraft.
United released the following statement: "United Flight 2397 from Fort Myers to Newark safely returned to the airport for a mechanical issue. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience caused by this delay in their travels. We are working to get them to Newark as soon as possible."
A spokesperson for United said that the extent of the engine issue won't be known until it's inspected. N443UA is more than 20 years old, having been delivered to United in May 1998, according to PlaneSpotters.net.