RENO, Nev. (AP) _ An Alaska Airlines MD-80 jet returned to Reno's airport shortly after takeoff on Saturday night after its pilot reported problems similar to those under investigation in Monday's crash off the California coast, officials said.

The Seattle-bound flight left Reno/Tahoe International Airport at about 7 p.m. and returned after about eight minutes later after the pilot reported motors controlling the plane's horizontal stabilizer were operating improperly, said Jack Evans, an Alaska Airlines spokesman.

The Friday night flight made a rough landing, but none of the 129 people aboard were injured.

The stabilizer is the wide part of the tail that helps to keep a plane level. Investigators are looking into possible problems with the stabilizer on Alaska Flight 261, an MD-83 which crashed on Monday in the Pacific Ocean north of Los Angeles, killing 88 people.

As the Reno flight returned, ``there was a lot of crying and a lot of praying because a lot of people were probably thinking about that crash,'' said passenger Dennis Smythe of Anchorage, Alaska.

Evans said the plane's motors likely overheated while the airplane was on the ground.

``We suspect people are being very cautious, and they are moving the stabilizer up and down and through a full cycle ... and it's overheating the motors,'' Evans said.

On Tuesday, an American Airlines MD-83 reported trouble with its horizontal stabilizer after takeoff and safely returned to Phoenix.