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Atlas Air Boeing 747 cargo plane experiences engine failure, FAA investigating

Greg Bajor/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Federal officials are investigating after an Atlas Air Boeing 747 cargo plane experienced an engine failure soon after departing from Miami International Airport Thursday night.

The airline said that Flight 95 landed safely after experiencing an “engine malfunction.” Footage captured of the plane over Miami appeared to show sparks trailing the aircraft.

“The crew followed all standard procedures and safely returned to MIA,” Atlas Air said in a statement. “At Atlas, safety is always our top priority and we will be conducting a thorough inspection to determine the cause.”

The plane landed around 10:30 p.m. ET after the crew reported an “engine failure,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the incident.

“Mayday, mayday. … Engine fire,” the pilot can be heard in the Air Traffic Control broadcast while requesting access back to the airport, later responding that they have “five souls onboard.”

A post-flight inspection of the Boeing 747 “revealed a softball size hole” above one of the plane’s engines, the FAA incident stated.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Friday it has also opened an investigation into the incident and is “collecting information to evaluate and determine” the scope of the probe.

In a statement to ABC News on Friday, Boeing said it is “supporting our customer and will support the NTSB investigation into this incident.”

The engine maker is GE Aviation, according to Boeing. ABC News has reached out to the company for comment.

The plane was headed to Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico at the time, according to the FAA.

U.S. passenger airlines stopped flying the 747 in 2017. The plane has been used as a freight aircraft for Atlas Air.

The investigation comes as Boeing is under scrutiny after the door plug for the fuselage of a Boeing 737 Max 9 fell off an Alaska Airlines passenger plane on Jan. 5.

The door plug blew off a few minutes after Flight 1282 took off from Portland International Airport, depressurizing the cabin and exposing passengers to open air thousands of feet above ground. Passengers captured footage showing a hole where the door plug came loose.

The plane made an emergency landing and none of the passengers or crew members experienced serious injuries.

Every Boeing 737 Max 9 with a plug door remains grounded until the FAA determines that each can safely return to operation. The pause affects about 171 planes worldwide.

The NTSB is investigating what caused the door plug to blow out.

In the wake of the incident, the FAA has since opened an investigation into Boeing’s safety operations. The agency has also increased its oversight over Boeing and began an audit of the company’s production and manufacturing last week.

Boeing has said it will “cooperate fully and transparently with the FAA and the NTSB on their investigations.”

ABC News’ Clara McMichael and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.


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