According to officials, the aircraft was heading to Victorsville, California, to be grounded when the emergency landing was declared. The plane was only carrying two passengers — the pilot and the co-pilot.
The Southwest flight initially departed from Florida's Orlando International Airport at roughly 2:30 p.m. local time before it was forced to return. Pilots reported engines problems at about 2:50 p.m. local time.
The FAA has said that the engine-related issues were not connected to the Max 8 jet's stall-prevention software, which has been fueling concerns over the safety of the jetliner following the deadly crashes of a Lion Air and an Ethiopian Airlines flight within the last six months. Both fatal crashes involved the troubled Boeing aircraft, and the plane's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System has been implicated as a cause.
An investigation into the emergency landing is ongoing.
CBS Los Angeles reported that the plane was being flown to Victorsville's Southern California Logistics Airport as part of the company's move to ground all of its Max 8 jetliners following the two crashes. The ongoing grounding is on its 12th day. The FAA announced that it would be grounding the plane on March 13, joining dozens of other countries.
The latest incident regarding the Boeing aircraft comes after flight simulations carried out as part of the investigation into the two deadly crashes revealed that pilots in both cases had fewer than 40 seconds to countermand the plane's automated systems, which directed the plane's nose downward, in at least one case due to wrong information from faulty sensors, in order to prevent it from stalling, Sputnik previously reported.