Last Updated Mar 13, 2014 10:25 PM EDT
The Airbus A320 was taking off from Philadelphia en route to Fort Lauderdale. The plane had just gotten airport when the incident occurred at 6:25 p.m. and the pilot decided to land, the airline spokeswoman said.
"The plane went up, came back down a little bit the first time, then didn't think much of it. Went up the second time, and then kind of felt loose and went straight back into the ground. Kind of sheer terror in everyone's eyes," passenger Will Jager told CBS Philadelphia.
"Quite a bit of panic. Soon after we landed, smoke was coming out of the engine. The pilot ordered everyone to evacuate, then everyone got up, you know, 'Let me off the plane, let me off the plane first.' But it was fairly orderly," Jager said.
Some passengers used their cellphones to take photos and video of the incident the moment they got off the plane.