United flight makes emergency landing after

A United Airlines flight from Fort Myers, Florida, to Newark made an emergency landing in Fort Myers shortly after takeoff Wednesday due to what one passenger called an “engine explosion.”

Cliff Maloney, president of the student organization Young Americans for Liberty, was on United Flight 2397, which took off from Fort Myers at 12:12 p.m. and made an emergency landing back at the airport about 45 minutes later, according to flight tracker FlightAware.

In an interview with USA TODAY, Maloney, a frequent flier who travels twice a week for work, recounted a harrowing experience. 

Five or 10 minutes into the flight on the Airbus A320, while the plane was still climbing, he heard a “loud banging noise” right outside the window of seat 2A.  

“Everybody kind of did the same thing, kind of sat up,” he said. “We’ve all seen ‘Sully.’ We’re all kind of having that moment.

“And then, all of a sudden, you hear the engine. There’s not enough sound or power.”

He described it as an “eerie” feeling and said he and other passengers becameworried.

 “Everything kind of rushes to your head. You’re kind of in this hopeless situation. Nobody knows what to do.”

Maloney said the pilot came on the intercom within a minute or so, though he said it felt like forever.

“He tells us right away, ‘Ladies and gentleman, we’ve had engine failure.’ Words you never want to hear,” Maloney recalled. 

The pilot announced an emergency landing and urged the 79 passengers to please listen to the flight attendants. He described the crew as “very calm, cool and collected.”

“I think that kind of helped us all,” he said.

He tried to call his fiance but there was no service.

Maloney watched out the window as the pilot turned the plane around for the emergency landing. Passengers were not told to brace for impact or take any other measures.

“The landing was great,” he said.” “I was really impressed with the captain.”

So impressed, he posted a selfie with the United pilot and praised the crew on Twitter. 

“I hate to be the fanboy who takes a selfie with him, but I’ve got to remember this moment,” Maloney said.


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