A British Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing today at London's Heathrow Airport after one of the engines of the aircraft caught fire, forcing authorities to briefly shut down the airport, Europe's busiest.
The incident is not believed to be terror related and all passengers and crew have been safely evacuated from the plane, which was earlier spotted flying over central London with flames bellowing from its tail."The BA762, Heathrow to Oslo service, returned back to Heathrow shortly after take-off due to a technical fault" said the British Airways in a statement.
"The Airbus A319 aircraft was carrying 75 customers. The aircraft landed safely and emergency slides were deployed and we are currently caring for our customers," the statement added.
"Emergency services attended the aircraft. We will be carrying out a full investigation into the incident," it said.
Heathrow Airport authorities have said that the airport is now fully operational and is returning to normal. All passengers and crew were safely evacuated from the aircraft.
They also sent out an advisory saying that there may be some disruption throughout the day and passengers are advised to check the flight status with their airline before travelling to the airport.
Some of the morning flights to India, including a London-Mumbai Jet Airways flight, were also facing 'some delays,' according to a spokesperson.
Heathrow is the world's busiest two-runway airport with a flight taking off or landing every 45 seconds.
One passenger, David Gallagher, a senior partner at Ketchum PR agency, described on the social networking site Twitter the dramatic moments the stricken plane made the
Posting a picture of the grounded plane at 8.49 a.m. BST he said, "This is what an emergency landing looks like. Great job getting us down and off the plane @British_Airways 762".
Aviation experts have speculated a possible bird hit may have caused the accident.