DFW AIRPORT — A Korean Air jet safely returned to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Sunday afternoon after developing a problem shortly after takeoff.
Airport spokesman David Magaña said KAL Flight 32 ran into an unspecified problem after it lifted off on a scheduled 14-hour flight to Seoul at noon.
"My heart is still pounding," said WFAA anchor Shelly Slater, who was a passenger on the aircraft. "We start taking off, and literally within a minute, a minute-and-a-half of taking off, I see a giant flash — like fire — and you hear a loud 'pop.'"
Slater said it was clear to everyone there was a major problem on board.
"You can tell the captain's trying to figure out, 'What just happened, and what do I need to do to make this plane safe?'" she said.
But instead of landing immediately, the Boeing 777-200 circled over Tarrant County for about an hour to jettison most of its fuel as a precaution. The FlightAware website traced the path of the big jet's holding pattern.
"When you're a mom of two, the whole time I just had tears running down my face thinking about my boys," Slater said. "I hugged them tight this morning, and I told them that I loved them and I'd see them soon. I wanted to keep that promise."
The twin-engine aircraft landed without incident at DFW about an hour after takeoff as emergency equipment was standing by along the runway.
The jet was able to taxi back to Gate 14 at Terminal D, where passengers deplaned.
"When you cover the news, you don't expect to be in the news," Slater said. "It certainly gives you sympathy for the people that you talk to and the people that you interview."
Airport spokesman David Magaña said in a statement that fire crews found no hazards after the plane landed.
According to the Korean Air website, the Seoul-bound flight was rescheduled for Monday because of "aircraft operational condition."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.