Seattle-bound jet makes emergency landing in Texas after flames shoot from engine

DALLAS  -  For the first time we're hearing from a mom on board a jet headed for Seattle that had to make an emergency landing in Dallas.

American Airlines Flight 438 had just taken off just after 11 pm Wednesday.  The plane was powering up to cruising altitude, when suddenly flames started shooting from the left engine.

"They hit the thrusters and there was a huge boom and there were sparks coming out of the left side,” said Abbie, a mother traveling with her young son.  She says she tried to keep him comforted when there was obviously something very wrong with the plane.

"Yeah, it was pretty scary,” she said.  “I had to shut the window."

She says most people on board remain calmed.

Another passenger says a woman behind him burst into tears.

Cell phone video recorded by one person shows bright yellow flashes of fire coming from the back of the engine.

The airline says it was a case of a compressor backfiring.

The pilots were able to ease the plane back to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, after about 20 minutes of flying around the area.

"Once we got back to the ground, everyone cheered and applauded the pilot,” said Abbie.  “So I mean, we were happy to be back for sure."

Passengers on the flight were put on new flights and most arrived at Sea-Tac later in the day.