United flight to Germany returns to Newark after engine trouble

Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:04pm EDT

Aug 18 (Reuters) - A United Airlines flight bound for Germany had to return Saturday evening to Newark Liberty International Airport after experiencing engine trouble, officials said.

The crew for United Flight 96 from Newark to Berlin reported an issue with the left engine, according to Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. She said that as a precaution, the flight burned off fuel and landed safely just after 8 p.m. local time, over two hours after takeoff.

Neither Bergen nor United spokesman Joe Micucci could confirm a report by CNN, attributed to the FBI, that a tire had blown off during takeoff and flew into an engine.

"We are still working to confirm the cause," Micucci said.

Micucci said that the Boeing 757 experienced a mechanical issue with an engine, and that the airline was working to re-accommodate customers.

The plane held 173 passengers and crew.

A spokesman for the FBI was not immediately available for comment. United Airlines is a unit of United Continental Holdings Inc.