A cargo plane was forced to land in Miami after a reported engine fire sent sparks flying midair

An Atlas Air cargo flight en route from Miami to Puerto Rico made an emergency landing late Thursday after a reported engine failure, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

According to FlightAware, the plane was in the air for 14 minutes. The incident apparently started about three minutes into the flight. The crew reported an engine fire, according to air traffic recordings.

“Mayday, mayday, giant 095 heavy, engine fire. Request vectors back to the airport,” the crew said, according to audio posted on

An FAA incident report says the flight’s No. 2 engine failed. That is the inboard engine on the left wing of a Boeing 747.

A “post flight inspection revealed a softball size hole above #2 engine,” the report says.

The ordeal sent sparks flying through the night sky over Miami.

Melanie Adaros was walking near her home in Miami’s Kendall neighborhood around 10:40 p.m. when she looked up and saw fire and sparks coming from a plane’s engine.

“It was very frightening,” she told CNN. “I couldn’t tell if the plane was going down.”

It’s unclear whether the sparks were caused by an issue with the plane or something external.

Atlas Air said the crew followed all standard procedures and safely returned to Miami International Airport. The plane landed around 11 p.m. Thursday.

Atlas Air will conduct an inspection to determine the cause of the issue, and the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board said they will investigate.

“NTSB has opened an investigation and is collecting information to evaluate and determine scope of the investigation,” the agency said in a statement to CNN. “No further information to release at this time.”

The aircraft is a Boeing 747-8 built in 2015, according to FAA data. In a statement to CNN, Boeing said it is “supporting our customer and will support the NTSB investigation into this incident.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Ross Levitt contributed to this report.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at