Engine fire forces United flight to abort takeoff at O’Hare

A United Airlines jet bound for Seattle aborted takeoff at O’Hare International Airport on Monday after one of its engines caught fire, causing a temporary halt to incoming flights.

The incident occurred around 2 p.m. when the pilot of United Flight 2091, an Airbus A320, was forced to terminate takeoff due to the emergency, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Cellphone video from a passenger shows black smoke billowing from one of the jet’s engines — the last thing a traveler would hope to see just moments before leaving the runway.

At the time of the incident, the plane was carrying 148 passengers and five crew members.

United's ground crew, airport fire officials, and a medical team responded to the aircraft, which was still on the taxiway. From there, it was towed back to its gate, where all passengers safely disembarked.

United Airlines said they were working with passengers to make alternate travel arrangements.

During the emergency, the FAA temporarily paused all incoming flights to O’Hare. Operations returned to normal at 2:45 p.m., the FAA confirmed.

Still, the incident created a domino effect of delays on an already busy travel day.

"We were supposed to be landing right about when it happened," said Dan Rogers.

Rogers was flying home to Chicago from Jacksonville, Florida with his family when their pilot made an alarming announcement.

"They said they couldn’t circle, we’d run out of fuel," said Rogers.

Due to the jet engine fire at O’Hare, Rogers said the pilot explained they would need to make a stop.

"When the pilot starts with ‘I hate to be the bearer of bad news,’ you know it’s not going to be great," added Caroline Hugh.

Hugh was on the same flight and said they were diverted to South Bend International Airport, where passengers were held on the plane until an all-clear was issued at O'Hare.

"We were there for hours, an hour at least," said Hugh.

Rogers said he even considered renting a car – but passengers were unable deplane.

"I started looking, maybe I should just drive from South Bend, right," said Rogers.

They were eventually able to return to the skies – landing at O’Hare just before 6 p.m.

Whether coming or going, waiting was common theme on Memorial Day.

"We’re staying positive, but we’ll be home at midnight," said Taylor Crumpton, traveler whose flight from Chicago to Austin was delayed.

O’Hare even racked up some of the worst Memorial Day delays around the globe Monday.

"Especially on a holiday weekend, I think you just have to plan for delays, and if everything goes great, well, bonus," said Kate Duffy, traveler.

This holiday weekend, airlines have seen an increase of about 5 percent in air travel compared to last Memorial Day.

The FAA expects Tuesday and Wednesday to be even busier than Monday.