Boeing crisis mounts as 737 Max forced into emergency landing
A Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner was forced to make an emergency landing in Florida on Tuesday, the third plane of the same model to suffer apparent mechanical problems in recent months.
The incident comes on the heels of the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March, which prompted a global ban on the operation of the 737 Max models.
The plane involved in Tuesday’s incident was flying without passengers and only a skeleton crew, according to its operator Southwest Airlines.
It was being ferried from Orlando International Airport to Victorville, California, for short-term storage during the grounding, the airline said in a statement to CNN.
"The crew followed protocol and safely landed back at the airport," Southwest said in a statement.
The global fleet of 737 Max jets was grounded indefinitely on March 13 after two fatal crashes involving the aircraft in March and October.
It was not immediately apparent if the emergency landing on Tuesday was connected to the two crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines.
Both those accidents appeared to have involved an automated anti-stall system that put the planes into a dive, while this latest incident was due to engine problems.
Just before 3 p.m. Tuesday, the two pilots aboard the flight reported "a performance issue with one of the engines shortly after takeoff," according to Southwest.
Southwest said the aircraft will be moved to its Orlando maintenance facility for a review, while the Federal Aviation Administration has indicated that it will investigate the matter.