It was a nightmare situation for passengers on a United Airlines flight from Costa Rica to Texas on Monday when their plane was forced to make an emergency landing after an engine failed.
Officials say one of the engines overheated on United Flight 1516 from Liberia Airport to Houston and completely stopped working. The pilot told passengers 30 minutes into the flight that they had to turn around.
Passenger Jody Genessy of Utah said passengers were not told there was an engine problem but knew something was wrong.
“We had to fly around in circles over the ocean for about an hour to burn off fuel and [the pilot] was only using one engine this whole time, I guess,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “When we were flying in for the landing, the plane felt really wobbly. I fly a lot and something felt weird and wrong and I was already tense and everyone was nervous. Right as we were about to land, apparently a wind shear hit us and with only one engine the pilot couldn’t stabilize [the plane].”
His wife, Jody Genessy said she felt the plane nearly crash.
“It tipped one way and people on that side said the wing almost hit [the ground] and we were going hundreds of miles per hour at that point,” she said. “The pilot corrected and the plane wobbled the other way and he just yanked it up and we went back up in the air. We all thought we were going to crash. We all thought we were going to die.”
The Genessys have four children, according to the Daily Mail, and said they are still terrified at what could have happened.
“You just think about kids being left without parents and your life ending way too early and it was really frightening.”
Once the plane landed, Mr. Genessy said, “Everybody was just clapping and screaming … shouts of joy. People were praying out loud. We were just so grateful to be on solid ground. I fly a lot and I’m quite scared to get back in the plane, honestly. That was a horrifying experience, it makes you really appreciate life,” he added, fighting back tears. “I’m just really grateful I’m still here. Honestly, I was scared to death.”
United Airlines offered all of the passengers on board a free night in a hotel in Costa Rica and a $10 dinner voucher.
In a statement, United Airlines said: “Flight 1516, traveling from Liberia, Costa Rica, to Houston, returned to Liberia due to a maintenance issue. The plane landed safely and a new aircraft is being sent to take customers to Houston tomorrow. We apologize to all customers on board for their experience and will be providing compensation for the inconvenience.”
Passengers will most likely be on the next flight scheduled to leave for Houston on Tuesday afternoon.
United Airlines is currently facing a possible lawsuit after a doctor was filmed being dragged from his seat because the flight was “overbooked.” He was injured by police.
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