Southwest Boeing 737 Max 8 being relocated makes emergency landing at OIA

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Southwest plane being relocated to California made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff at Orlando International Airport Tuesday afternoon.

Two pilots were the only people onboard the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane—which was being relocated to Victorville—when it took off shortly before 3 p.m., according to OIA spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said the flight's crew "declared an emergency after the aircraft experienced a reported engine problem while departing."

Airport operations were not significantly affected by the emergency landing, Fennell said.

Southwest released the following statement:

"Southwest 8701 operating as a ferry flight with no passengers onboard returned to Orlando International Airport just before 3pm EDT after Pilots reported a performance issue with one of the engines shortly after takeoff. The Crew followed protocol and safely landed back at the airport. The flight was scheduled to fly to Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, Calif., for short-term storage. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 will be moved to our Orlando maintenance facility for a review."

The flight was scheduled to land in Victorville around 5 p.m., flight records show.

Southwest said the problem on the flight is not the same as the one believed to be behind two deadly crashes in March and October of 2018.

The airline also said that the plane has been moved to the Orlando maintenance facility for further review.

The FAA is investigating, officials said.

This is a developing story. Stay with Channel 9 for updates. 

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