United Airlines flight with engine problem lands safely at SFO

A United Airlines flight that was forced to turn around and head back to San Francisco today after one of its engines experienced mechanical problems has landed safely, according to an airline spokeswoman.

Flight 837 left San Francisco International Airport at 11:36 a.m. with 202 passengers and 15 crew members aboard, United spokeswoman Erin Benson said.

The flight was headed to Narita, Japan, but the Boeing 747 began experiencing problems in one of its four engines and had to turn around and come back, Benson said.

According to an airline spokeswoman, the passengers boarded another flight that was scheduled to leave at 4:30 p.m. and is now en route to Japan.

Witnesses reported seeing a fireball coming from the engine on the left side of the plane. The pilot did not declare an emergency as a result of the engine problem.