THIS is the terrifying moment a United Airline plane dropped burning debris on a busy New Jersey runway.
The UA149 flight from Newark Airport to Sao Paulo, Brazil, was forced to make a dramatic U-turn after a hydraulic system problem.
Dramatic footage shows the huge Boeing engine glowing as flames licked the plane and parts fell nearby.
A flight map shows the plane flying 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 dodging 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 was exhibiting an altitude of 24,000 feet when the aircraft experienced a suspected hydraulic pressure pump failure.
A Radar Box charting system showed that the UA149 was flying back to its departure point at Newark International Airport in a loop – approximately 90 minutes after takeoff.
United Airlines has not yet issued a statement.
The incident comes just over a year after another United Arline commercial flight caused chaos when an engine exploded dramatically in mid-air.
The “engine failure” caused the flight to drop parts on homes in Colorado, while panicked passengers shared video footage of the engine catching fire.
The explosion, visible from the ground, left a trail of black smoke in the air, and small bits 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 to crash,” Delucia said, putting his wallet in his pocket so he could be easily identified if the plane crashed, The The US Express News reported.
Fortunately, the plane landed safely at Denver International Airport and no one was injured, authorities said.
But both those in the air and on the ground were deeply shocked.
After the incident, the Pratt & Whitney 777s were grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration.
But the plane soon returned to the skies after it was deemed safe to operate by the administration.