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Traveler on United flight films flames shooting out of jet’s engine as passengers sleep

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A passenger aboard a Chicago-bound United Airlines flight from San Diego posted video showing flames shooting out from one of the engines before the pilot made an emergency landing in Albuquerque before dawn on Monday.

Thomas Chorny recorded the scary sight while sitting in seat 34F of the Boeing 737-900 twin-jet sometime around midnight local time as Flight 366 made its way over the southwest United States.

The video shows the right wing of the aircraft being illuminated by bursts of shooting flames as the plane flies through the dark sky.

But in a Twitter post, Chorny reveals that passengers around him were sleeping and that neither he nor the airline staff woke them up so as not to cause alarm. 

The video posted to social media by an airline passenger on Monday shows the right wing of a United Airlines plane being illuminated by bursts of shooting flames as it flies through the dark sky in the Southwest United States

The video posted to social media by an airline passenger on Monday shows the right wing of a United Airlines plane being illuminated by bursts of shooting flames as it flies through the dark sky in the Southwest United States

The video posted to social media by an airline passenger on Monday shows the right wing of a United Airlines plane being illuminated by bursts of shooting flames as it flies through the dark sky in the Southwest United States

‘Strange to sit there & think “What if this is it?”,’ the passenger, Thomas Chorny, wrote on his Twitter page on Monday morning

‘Strange to sit there & think “What if this is it?”,’ the passenger, Thomas Chorny, wrote on his Twitter page on Monday morning

‘Strange to sit there & think “What if this is it?”,’ the passenger, Thomas Chorny, wrote on his Twitter page on Monday morning

The above map shows the route taken by the diverted flight, which took off from San Diego and made an emergency landing in Albuquerque

The above map shows the route taken by the diverted flight, which took off from San Diego and made an emergency landing in Albuquerque

The above map shows the route taken by the diverted flight, which took off from San Diego and made an emergency landing in Albuquerque

‘Strange to sit there & think “What if this is it?”,’ he wrote on his Twitter page on Monday morning.

‘To just sit there & accept the potential fate that seems to be a possibility & not tell the sleeping people all around you.

‘No need to panic the others.

‘I’m a pretty calm person but took me a while to stop the shakes & trembles.’

The plane landed safely in New Mexico early Monday morning. United then arranged for another plane to bring the passengers to Chicago, the company said.

Chorny (above) says he kept quiet about what he saw and didn't want to talk about it with others so as not to sow panic

Chorny (above) says he kept quiet about what he saw and didn't want to talk about it with others so as not to sow panic

Chorny (above) says he kept quiet about what he saw and didn’t want to talk about it with others so as not to sow panic

‘The plane started to shake a bit like it was hitting turbulence, but the wings were perfectly still,’ Chorny told CNN.

‘I was halfway falling asleep but opened my eyes to look out the window and saw flames shooting from the right engine.

‘They shut down the engine to idle, and the flames went out and then they started banking left for quite a while and we dropped a bunch of altitude.

‘It took another 10 minutes or so before they announced that we would be landing at Albuquerque.’

Chorny said that he was one of just a few people who saw the flames. He said he didn’t discuss it with anyone else so as not to cause panic.

United said in a statement that it provided an alternate aircraft to take passengers to their destinations after landing in Albuquerque. The above image is a stock photo of a United flight

United said in a statement that it provided an alternate aircraft to take passengers to their destinations after landing in Albuquerque. The above image is a stock photo of a United flight

United said in a statement that it provided an alternate aircraft to take passengers to their destinations after landing in Albuquerque. The above image is a stock photo of a United flight

‘It’s a strange feeling to sit there not knowing exactly what was going on, but it was very easy to start getting emotional just thinking about what might have happened,’ he said.

United said Flight 366 ‘diverted to Albuquerque following a mechanical issue with one of the engines.’

‘The flight landed safely, and customers deplaned normally at the gate.

‘Our maintenance team in Albuquerque will inspect the aircraft and we’ve arranged for a different plane to get our customers to their destination which has departed.’

There were no injuries, United said. The company pledged to conduct a full inspection of the engine to determine the cause of the malfunction. 

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