BA plane lands after 'engine surge'

Braintree and Witham Times: A British Airways Airbus A319 was involved in the incident A British Airways Airbus A319 was involved in the incident

A British Airways plane has had to turn back to Heathrow after experiencing engine problems on take-off.

BA said the aircraft, an Airbus A319 bound for Lyon in France had had "an engine surge" and had landed safely at Heathrow following the incident at around 9pm last night.

An eyewitness told the BBC he had seen flames "spitting out" of an engine and that the plane was making spluttering noises as it was taking off.

Tom Puttick, who works near Heathrow said: "I was in the petrol station opposite the airport which is when I heard the bang, so I turned around and the airplane had flames spitting out of the engine with a spluttering noise as it was taking off.

"I then watched it continuer to climb and the engine was still emitting flames intermittently. Lots of blue lights then emerged on the airport while the plane, I guess, turned around to make an emergency landing."

A BA spokeswoman said: "A flight experienced what's known as an 'engine surge' as it took off from Heathrow, but it returned and touched down safely.

"Our crew cared for our customers on-board and kept them informed. We train our pilots to the very highest standards including how to respond to these type of events, and the engine was immediately shut down."

She went on: "Of course, we gave our customers who were on the flight hotel accommodation last night and they have been rebooked to fly today.

"We have also scheduled a larger aircraft to operate to Lyon to ensure we can get all our customers there as soon as possible. We can understand how frustrating the delay to their plans must be.

"The aircraft is being thoroughly checked over by engineers. The safety of our customers, crew and aircraft is of the utmost importance to British Airways."

Last year a BA Airbus A319 bound for Oslo was involved in a dramatic return to Heathrow after smoke was seen pouring from one of the engines.

Investigators later found that doors of the engines had been left unlatched during maintenance.

The coverings of the two engines - called fan cowl doors - then fell off as the aircraft left the runway, puncturing a fuel pipe on the right engine.

Dramatic film of the incident in May was captured, with the plane seen flying over London.

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