A British Airways plane had to make an emergency landing after it experienced an “engine surge” during takeoff last night.
Flames were “spitting out” of one of the engines and the plane was making spluttering noises as it was lifting off, an eyewitness told the BBC.
The flight departed from Heathrow bound for Lyon in France, but had to turn back soon after taking to the air.
Tom Puttick, who works near Heathrow said: “I was in the petrol station opposite the airport which is when I heard the bang, so I turned around and the airplane had flames spitting out of the engine with a spluttering noise as it was taking off.
“I then watched it continued to climb and the engine was still emitting flames intermittently. Lots of blue lights then emerged on the airport while the plane, I guess, turned around to make an emergency landing.”
BA said the aircraft, an Airbus A319 had landed safely at Heathrow following the incident at around 9pm last night.
A BA spokeswoman said: “A flight experienced what's known as an 'engine surge' as it took off from Heathrow, but it returned and touched down safely.
“Our crew cared for our customers on-board and kept them informed. We train our pilots to the very highest standards including how to respond to these type of events, and the engine was immediately shut down.”
She added: “Of course, we gave our customers who were on the flight hotel accommodation last night and they have been rebooked to fly today.
“We have also scheduled a larger aircraft to operate to Lyon to ensure we can get all our customers there as soon as possible. We can understand how frustrating the delay to their plans must be.
“The aircraft is being thoroughly checked over by engineers. The safety of our customers, crew and aircraft is of the utmost importance to British Airways.”