GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KCBS) – A Virgin America flight to New York made an emergency landing in Grand Junction, Colorado early Thursday just a couple of hours after taking off from San Francisco International Airport.

None of the 117 passengers aboard Virgin Flight 28 was injured, said Rex Tippetts, director of aviation at the Grand Junction Airport. He said the flight bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport was diverted because one of the Airbus 319’s engines failed.

“They shut down one engine and landed with one engine,” Tippetts said.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

The flight took off from SFO shortly after 11 p.m. Pacific time. Tippetts said fire fighters and emergency response teams at the Colorado airport were advised of the unscheduled landing at 1:36 a.m. Mountain time.

The husband of one passenger told KCBS Radio his wife saw flames coming from the plane’s engine after the landing, a report Tippetts and airline officials could not corroborate.

A spokeswoman for Virgin America confirmed that the flight was forced to land because of a “mechanical issue that needed inspection.”

Tippetts said the scene was cleared in less than half an hour.

Crew members reported that the travelers were patient throughout the delays, and Virgin America spokeswoman Patricia Condon said the airline was refunding the affected passengers and providing them each with a $150 credit. Condon said the airline was also paying for hotel and food costs.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (6)
  1. Get the facts says:

    Virgin should release the full story, not this doctored version. It should read more like this The engine was on fire during the flight. The emergency was handled by miliatary personel on board who took crontrol from the cabin crew. The cabin had no lights, the passengers were in darkness and the plane was shuddering, the passengers were told to pull down the window shades. Passengers were drilled on crash procedure and were told to expect a hard landing, the descent was very rapid and most passengers thought “this is the end”. On landing the emergency shutes were not used and the passengers were forced to sit in a plane that was on fire for over half and hour before the local fire brigade put the flames out and a bridge could be found to enable them to disembark . They were finally sent to a local hotel and another plane was brought to the regional airport about 9 hours later to continue the journey to New York. And a $150.00 credit to fly Virgin again, what is second prise a $300 credit?? The Virgin Crew….were useless!

  2. Passenger VA-Flt 28 says:

    As a passenger on this flight, Virgin does need to get its facts straigh. Sitting in Row 16 B, a few rows behind the wing/engine, I smelled something burning, I heard the boom and felt the shake from the engine exploding, and most importantly I SAW THE SPARKS & the ORANGE GLOW from the ENGINE BEING ON FIRE! The TV screens turned off, the emergency lights came on.

    As calm as the crew had been, you can hear the panic in their voices as they prepped us for the “Brace Landing” and went over evacuation procedures. I myself that this was “the end”. I seriously feared for my life, and I prayed so hard that I would not come to that. They became more dependent on the 3 off-duty SFPD on board to keep the situation under control. When we landed, the captain even said that the engine was completely burnt and we would need a new plane.

    Overall, we spent 12 hours in Colorado. Almost an hour on the plane after landing, a total of 8 hours at the Airport, 3 Hours at a Inn. They didn’t even offer us FOOD! We payed for it ourselves!!!! and all we got was an apology, a refund, and a $150. future credit for almost losing our lives and losing 12 hours in NYC.

  3. Another curious passenger says:

    I was also on the flight and have put one of my unused domains to use for other passengers to comment and whatnot and hopefully to be able to learn what exactly happened and why.

    I don’t know if this allows links but the site is:

    Regarding vx-28 sfo-jfk which landed in grand junction

  4. f.lair says:

    …and who commented that a Virgin experience couldn’t be exciting?.