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    25 Apr 2017

    United Flight from Costa Rica to Houston loses an engine, nearly crashes on emergency landing. Passengers given a $10 voucher.

    A Utah couple is among several passengers happy to be alive after a flight from Costa Rica to Texas took a frightful turn over the ocean Monday.
    One of the plane's engines overheated, said Deseret News sportswriter Jody Genessy, who traveled to the nation with his wife last week for a trip related to his work as a health coach.
    "All of the sudden the pilot came on and said, 'In layman's terms, the engine light is on. There's a problem with one of our engines. We need to turn around and go back to Liberia, Costa Rica,'" Genessy said by phone Monday evening.
    The plane circled above the waves for an hour to burn fuel and lose enough weight to touch down, Genessy said. On landing, the plane wobbled and nearly tilted so much that a wing hit the ground. Then the pilot corrected and the other side almost crashed down, Genessy said.
    Genessy and his wife Heather feared their four kids wouldn't see them again, he said. Fire engines and ambulances were waiting for them to land.
    But the pilot restored balance. No one was injured, and the plane erupted in cheers.
    "We were all just freaking out. Your life flashes before your eyes," Genessy said. "As soon as we landed, it was as if the pilot won the Super Bowl for us." 

    United flight 1516 was bound for Houston, Texas, from Liberia, a city near Costa Rica's northwestern border with Nicaragua.
    United Airlines told People Magazine the flight returned to Liberia because of a maintenance issue.
    "The plane landed safely and a new aircraft is being sent to take customers to Houston tomorrow," United said in the prepared statement issued to People. "We apologize to all customers on board for their experience and will be providing compensation for the inconvenience.”
    The airline issued Genessy a $10 voucher, according to his Twitter post. But the traveler said he felt he had received a much greater reward.
    "You're never more happy to be alive than when you're faced with the fear of dying," he said.
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