Alaska Airlines jet grounded in Petersburg after engine problem

Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2000

PETERSBURG (AP) -- An Alaska Airlines jet was grounded in Petersburg Monday evening after passengers saw a blue fireball spit from the engine prior to takeoff.

''Just as soon as we started to gain a little RPM, there was a ball of fire that came out of the port engine, on the wing,'' passenger Don Braafhart of Davenport, Iowa, told KFSK radio. ''And right away we thought that there might be a problem. Everything seemed to be fine and then apparently we had some problems with a heat indicator ... and they brought us back.''

Braafhart said passengers were only on the plane for about ten minutes before it returned to the terminal.

A spokesman for Alaska Airlines said the carrier was not aware of reports of flame coming from the engine.

''There was an indicator light in the cockpit that showed there was high temperatures in the engine. So the problem required a mechanic be dispatched to check out the engine,'' said airline spokesman Joel Van Etta.

No mechanics were available Monday night, and weather problems kept the airline from dispatching one until Tuesday morning, he said. The problem was discovered as the plane was taking off for Wrangell shortly after 7 p.m., Van Etta said.

After the mechanic looked over the jet, it was flown to Seattle on Tuesday.

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