L.A.-bound flight forced to turn back to Mexico after engine catches fire

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A flight from Mexico to Los Angeles had to turn around and make an emergency landing Tuesday after an engine apparently caught fire minutes after takeoff. 

Viva Aerobus Flight VB518 had just departed from Guadalajara around 10 p.m. local time (11 p.m. ET) when “minutes later” sparks were seen flying from an engine due to a “friction of metals,” the airline said in a statement.

Passengers had seen sparks and flames emitting from the right engine of the plane, sending some into a panic, according to a report from KABC, a television station based in Los Angeles that serves as the West Coast flagship of the ABC network. NBC News was not immediately able to confirm that reporting.

The flight was forced to turn around and landed safely at Guadalajara International Airport around 10:45 p.m. (11:45 p.m. ET), Viva Aerobus said.

The airline said all passengers and crew members on board were OK after the emergency landing. It added that the “crew provided timely and professional attention to passengers that so required it.”

Passengers on the flight were accommodated in a hotel and able to resume their journey Wednesday, the airline said.

“We profoundly lament the inconveniences that this instance could have caused,” the airline said. It added that the cause of the incident was being investigated.

The Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chantal Da Silva

Chantal Da Silva is a breaking news editor for NBC News Digital based in London. 

Sara Mhaidli is a reporter for NBC News’ Social Newsgathering team based in London.

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