Airlines

United Airlines flight forced to return to Chicago after bird strike, engine fire

A United Airlines flight had to return to O'Hare International Airport Thursday after its engine caught fire when it struck a bird after takeoff.

The Chicago Aviation Department said Flight 1738 to Miami departed about 7:45 a.m. and reported the engine issue after takeoff.

United Airlines spokeswoman Erin Benson told the Associated Press the pilot shut down one of the plane's engines Thursday after reporting a bird strike, and that the plane landed safely at O'Hare.

Tim Arnold, who was on the flight, told Storyful there was  a loud burst five minutes after the plane took off and "the plane dove to its left side."

"It started smelling of engine burning up, then we saw the flames," Arnold told Storyful. "Lots of people were terrified onboard. The crew was quick to keep everyone calm and the pilot returned us back to Chicago."

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Arnold said the "landing was rough due to the failure, but the pilot got us back safe and fire trucks were on scene to handle the engine."

Another passenger on the flight told WSVN in Miami "the smell of smoke that was the most scary."

“I just saw a spark of fire just coming out of the wing of the airplane,” said another passenger, “and then it was smelling really bad, like something was burning. That was about it. It was scary, very scary.”

The airline was able to switch passengers to another plane and the flight departed Chicago again at 10:40 a.m. Benson said the airline will reach out to customers "to compensate them for the inconvenience."

The flight landed in Miami around 2:24 p.m. Thursday, according to WSVN.

Read more from WSVN.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.