Atlas Air flight 95 was departing from Miami International Airport around 10.30pm on Thursday heading to Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in Carolina, Puerto Rico, three miles southeast of San Juan.
In a statement, the airline said, “At Atlas, safety is our core value and always our top priority, and we will be conducting a thorough investigation”.
According to a preliminary report released by the agency, officials discovered a softball-sized hole above the second engine. The plane later turned around and made an emergency landing at the Miami airport. No injuries were reported.
It’s the second time this month that the agency has launched an investigation against the company. The FAA previously announced a probe against the company after a door plug blew off an Alaska Airlines flight midair on 5 January.
After the incident, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines found loose bolts on their models of the Boeing 737 Max 9, which was used for the flight. Only 40 out of 171 planes have been inspected, the FAA said this week.
The agency has grounded the aircraft until they undergo proper inspections, resulting in hundreds of flight cancellations daily. “The safety of the flying public, not speed, will determine the time of returning these aircraft to service,” the agency said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the Alaska Airlines flight in addition to the Atlas Air incident.
Responding to the accident, a Boeing representative said, “We are supporting our customer and will support the NTSB investigation into this incident.”
GE Aerospace, which manufactures the engines used on the 747-8 plane, said, “Safety is our first priority, and GE Aerospace is providing technical assistance to our customer, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board as they investigate the incident.”
In a video posted to social media, flames can be seen spouting from the aircraft as an onlooker gasps.
“Oh my god! It’s on fire,” a woman be heard saying in the footage.