THIS is the terrifying moment a United Airline plane dropped flaming debris near a busy runway in New Jersey.
The UA149 flight from Newark airport to Sao Paulo, Brazil, was forced to make a dramatic U-turn after experiencing a technical issue with its hydraulics system.
Dramatic footage shows the huge Boeing’s engine glowing as flames licked the aircraft and parts dropped onto the nearby area.
A flight map shows how the plane flew in a loop as it returned to Newark Airport in New Jersey.
Huge chunks of flaming metal were visible as they rained down from the sky – narrowly avoiding vehicles near the busy runway.
A photo, shared by a frightened onlooker, later confirmed suspicions of suspected falling debris.
According to Areoxplorer the Boeing 777-200ER displayed an altitude of 24,000 feet, when the aircraft experienced a suspected hydraulic pressure pump failure.
A Radar Box mapping system showed that UA149 flew in a loop back to its departure point at Newark International Airport - some 90 minutes after takeoff.
United Airlines have yet to issue a statement.
The incident comes just over a year after another commercial United Arline flight caused chaos when an engine dramatically exploded midair.
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The explosion, visible from the ground, left a trail of black smoke in the sky, and tiny pieces of insulation, and ash-filled air.
David Delucia who was traveling on the Boeing 777-200 that day described how he "thought we were going down".
“When it initially happened, I thought we were done. I thought we were going down,” said Delucia, who stuffed his wallet in his pocket so he could be easily identified if the plane did go down, The Associated Press reported.
Fortunately, the plane landed safely at Denver International Airport, and no one was hurt, authorities said.
But both those in the air and on the ground were deeply shaken.
Following the incident, the Pratt & Whitney 777s were grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration.
But the aircraft soon returned to the skies after being deemed safe to operate by the administration.