A Southwest Airlines flight headed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, made an emergency landing at Long Island MacArthur Airport nine minutes after takeoff Thursday morning because an airport worker thought the plane was leaking fuel, airport officials said.
When Flight 1570 departed MacArthur at 7:40 a.m., a member of the airport’s ground crew saw something leaking from the left engine of the Boeing 737, said acting airport Commissioner Rob Schneider.
The Southwest pilot was contacted via the air traffic control tower, and after the pilot declared that the aircraft would be making an emergency landing, the plane returned to MacArthur at 7:49 a.m., Schneider said.
Schneider said the plane landed without incident and was not leaking as it taxied back to the gate. Passengers were taken off the plane, and another Southwest aircraft was used to take them to Fort Lauderdale.
After Flight 1570 returned to MacArthur, mechanics from A&P Maintenance determined there had been no fuel leak, and that there was nothing mechanically wrong with the plane, Schneider said. The aircraft will be back in service Thursday, he said.
“Not sure what the miscommunication was there, but we take everything seriously,” Schneider said. “If someone has a safety concern, obviously we have a responsibility to activate and respond to any potential aircraft emergency, and our guys are very well-trained and they did their job and luckily this turned out to be a nonevent.”