A mechanical problem on a United Airlines flight caused an emergency landing early Thursday at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport.
“After our plane experienced a mechanical issue shortly after takeoff, it remained airborne to burn fuel and then landed safely,” United said in a statement. “Passengers have disembarked at the gate and a new plane is scheduled to depart 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 purporting to show the flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what happened to Flight 149, which departed Newark airport Wednesday night and later declared an emergency. The Boeing 777-200 aircraft was en route to Sao Paulo, Brazil, before returning to Newark, the FAA said.
The hydraulic system of the Boeing 777 runs key systems such as the landing gear, flaps and brakes. There are three redundant hydraulic systems on the plane, which means two can fail and the plane can still operate normally.
The flight flew over the Atlantic Ocean to burn fuel before returning to the airport about two hours after departure, flight tracking data shows.
CNN has reached out to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for comment.