A British Airways Airbus A319 with 80 aboard threw flames from its right engine shortly after departure from Heathrow, Friday, and returned safely, missing cowl components from both engines. The jet, Oslo-bound Flight BA762, departed at 8:16 a.m. and suffered “an engine technical fault” according to an early statement from the carrier. It returned to land less than 30 minutes later. Witnesses and passengers told reporters they heard at least one, and possibly two, loud bangs and saw flames come from the right engine. Photos and video of the jet in the air and on the ground appear to confirm smoke from the right engine and loss of cowling components on both engines.
Fire and rescue met the aircraft on the ground and passengers exited via emergency slides. Following the event, BA shut down all its short-haul flights at the airport until 4 p.m. The incident reportedly caused 186 flight cancellations as Heathrow briefly closed both runways. A reporter for Sky News who was on a different flight inbound to Heathrow said passengers were told they were being delayed due to a bird strike aboard another aircraft. The carrier says it has launched a full investigation working with the Air Accident Investigation Bureau to determine cause.