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Cargo plane experiences engine malfunction over South Florida skies, safely lands at MIA

Cargo plane experiences engine malfunction over South Florida skies, safely lands at MIA
Cargo plane experiences engine malfunction over South Florida skies, safely lands at MIA 02:44

MIAMI — A cargo plane safely landed at Miami International Airport late Thursday night after an engine malfunction occurred shortly after takeoff.

Audio from pilot on board cargo plane during major emergency at Miami International Airport 02:58

According to Atlas Air Worldwide, the airline to which the plane belonged to, landed safely after experiencing an engine malfunction soon after departure from MIA around 10:32 p.m., according to flight data provided by FlightAware. Miami-Dade Aviation told CBS News Miami that the plane landed back at the airport around 11:03 p.m.  

Social media video provided by ONLY in DADE showed the plane flying in Miami airspace with what appeared to be a "trail of sparks" as it was descending. Officials told CBS News Miami's Morgan Rynor that the engine caught on fire, but the cause of the malfunction is under investigation.

Atlas Air told CBS News Miami that the crew followed all standard operating procedures to make sure the aircraft landed safely. According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, nobody was injured during the engine malfunction and nobody was transported to the hospital.

A cargo plane had to return to MIA after experiencing a malfuction.  CBS News Miami

"At Atlas, safety is always a top priority and we will be conducting a thorough inspection to determine the cause," a spokesperson with the airline stated.

Aviation safety expert David Katzman told CBS News Miami's Peter D'Oench: "About a 747 losing one of its four engines and immediately returning safely, that tells me the flight crew was well trained and executed the maneuvers that were necessary and I would not consider that to be a cause for concern. The question would go to the maintenance and the cause of the loss."

"Anytime there's a fire on an airplane that is a cause of great concern but this was a contained situation," Katzman added.

An FAA preliminary report said a post-flight inspection revealed a "softball size hole above the #2 engine."

It was just two weeks ago on January 5 that an Alaska Airlines door plug blew off during a flight from Portland International Airport. No one was seriously injured and the plane made an emergency landing. 

"I would say if you look at the number of flights conducted every and the size of the fleet if aircraft, if you look at that in that context I would not be overly concerned," Katzman said. "However, doors are not supposed to fly off at 16,000 feet. It's not supposed to work that way."

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