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A viral video shared on social media platform shows the Southwest Airline engine spitting flames.

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The plane was heading from Houston to Cancun. It returned to Hobby Airport "after experiencing a mechanical issue shortly after takeoff," Southwest said in a statement to NBC News.

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"The aircraft landed safely and was taken out of service for review," the airline added. "A different aircraft continued the flight to Cancun last evening, and we appreciate our Customers’ patience and support."

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The video shows the right engine of the aircraft spitting flames. The incident occurred with a Boeing 737 narrow-body aircraft used for short routes.

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The plane was only in the air for 16 minutes before passengers were back on the ground and moved to a new plane.

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Andrew Sandino, a mechanical engineer, was leaving work near the airport when he looked up and saw the flames coming out of the plane's engine.

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He added, "I was thinking this plane may crash. If that engine just completely explodes and sends shrapnel everywhere, the plane is going to fizzle out and hit the ground." 

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Kathleen Bangs, a former commercial airline pilot and spokesperson for FlightAware, a company that provides flight-tracking services, told the outlet that the plane was probably never in serious trouble. 

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Southwest is one of the few major U.S.-based carriers that has never had a fatal crash. In 2018, however, a New Mexico woman was killed on a Southwest flight after an engine blast caused a window to burst and she was partially sucked out of the plane.

Credit: Google

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