BUFFALO, NY - More than 130 passengers on Spirit Airlines flight 647 are safe after the plane made an emergency landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport just after 2:30 Monday morning.
The Airbus A320 aircraft departed from Niagara Falls bound for Fort Lauderdale around 2 A.M. when, according to the airline, it incurred a compressor stall in an engine. Earlier reports said a flame out on the number two engine had occurred. NFTA officials say they were relying on eyewitness and airline staff accounts of what happened. A flame out is similar to a car backfiring. Officials say the pilot shut down the engine and navigated the aircraft to BNIA.
Passengers told 2 On Your Side that they heard a large boom, then saw sparks and fire from the right side engine. According to one passenger, the plane struggled to gain altitude after take-off and the right wing dipped slightly without power to the engine.
"We were actually the ones who told the flight attendants. They didn't know what was going on. We started panicking and freaking out, screaming and crying," a group of college students told us.
"I thought we were going to die," a mother holding a newborn told us. She was traveling back to Florida after visiting Niagara Falls.
The plane was met by airport emergency responders on the runway, but the plane was able to taxi to the terminal without assistance.
NFTA officials say no one was injured and Spirit Airlines will coordinate vouchers and flights for passengers.
According to passengers we spoke to, Spirit Airlines wouldn't be able to make up the flight until 2 A.M Tuesday morning.
Spirit Airlines sent WGRZ the following statement on Monday morning:
Spirit Airlines flight 647 from Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) landed safely this morning at Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) following a reported mechanical issue. Passengers were deplaned and our customer service agents are working to get them to their final destinations as quickly as possible. They are being placed in local hotels ahead of a replacement flight later today. There were 136 passengers and 6 crew on board and no injuries were reported. Mechanics conducted a full investigation of the plane, determining a compressor stall as the likely cause, but there was no damage or fire as indicated in some early media reports. We apologize for any inconvenience and we’ll be issuing future flight credits to all impacted customers.
The FAA sent WGRZ this statement:
Spirit Airlines 647, a Airbus A320, declared an emergency and diverted to Buffalo Niagara International Airport today at 2:25 am due to an engine problem. The flight had departed Niagara Fall International Airport. Contact the airline for passenger information. The FAA will investigate.