A mechanical problem on a United Airlines flight caused an emergency landing early Thursday at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport.
“After our aircraft experienced a mechanical issue shortly after takeoff, it remained aloft to burn fuel and then landed safely,” United said in a statement. “Passengers have disembarked at the gate and a new plane is due to take off this morning.”
An initial maintenance inspection suggests a problem with a hydraulic pump on the plane, which had 256 passengers on board for the flight, United Airlines said.
Sparks flew from the plane as it climbed after takeoff, according to video posted online which claims to show the flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what happened with Flight 149, which departed Newark Airport late Wednesday night and then declared an emergency. The Boeing 777-200 plane was heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil, before returning to Newark, the FAA said.
The Boeing 777’s hydraulic system manages key systems, such as the landing gear, flaps and brakes. There are three redundant hydraulic systems in the aircraft, which means two can fail and the aircraft can still operate normally.
The flight flew over the Atlantic Ocean to burn off fuel before returning to the airport about two hours after departure, according to flight tracking data.
CNN has reached out to port authorities in New York and New Jersey for comment.