A VivaAerobus aircraft caught fire just three minutes after takeoff from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara, forcing the crew to turn around and return to the resort city in order to make a safe landing.
In a statement, the airline explained that at around 4:04 p.m. on Wednesday, flight VB 3235 was traveling on the Puerto Vallarta-Guadalajara route when crew saw that it had “presented a failure in one of the engines.”
According to the industry publication the Aviation Herald, the airline’s Airbus A320-200 stopped its climb at 6,000 feet after the right-hand engine exploded, producing streaks of flames and smoke.
In a video shared on social media, the explosion can be heard while sparks and flames are seen shooting out of the plane’s engine.
“The passengers were disembarked in a timely manner, and the aircraft is on the apron for its review and corresponding maintenance,” the statement said, adding that passengers were moved to another plane to cover the interrupted flight and continue their trip “as soon as possible.”
The aircraft landed at the Puerto Vallarta airport at 4:20 p.m., according to flight data.
The aircraft, which bears a registration code of XA-VAV, had been used in over 90 flights in April before yesterday’s incident, apparently without problems, ferrying passengers on an average of five to seven flights per day from points of origin as varied as Puerto Vallarta, Tijuana, Guadalajara, Mexico City (AICM), La Paz, Hermosillo, Los Mochis, Huatulco, Cancún, Mérida and Guanajuato (Del Bajío) — as well as international airports, including Bush International in Houston, Chicago O’Hare, and El Dorado International in Bogotá.
Wednesday’s incident is at least the second such event of note involving planes to happen at one of Mexico’s airports this week: on Monday, an Aeromexico Boeing 737-800 and a Delta Airlines Boeing 757 collided on on a runway while taxiing at Mexico City International Airport (AICM).
Aeroméxico’s flight AM117 was bound for Ciudad Juárez, while Delta’s DL625 flight had arrived from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.