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Ground Crew Sees Engine Fire, Forces Korean Air Lines 747 to Return to LAX

A Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 with 286 passengers aboard was forced to return to Los Angeles International Airport shortly after takeoff Saturday after airport tower personnel saw flames and smoke shooting out of one of the airplane’s four engines.

Rich Tornquist, regional duty officer for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the fire was also seen by ground personnel about 12:50 p.m. The pilot shut down the engine and flew to the Pt. Mugu area, where the aircraft circled for 50 minutes dumping fuel, which Tornquist said is normal procedure before making an emergency landing.

Emergency crews were sent to the airport, but the plane, which was en route to Seoul via Honolulu, landed safely at LAX at 2 p.m.

The cause of the fire was not determined.

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