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Engine Blast Returns Jet to Guam

June 20, 1998

AGANA, Guam (AP) _ A jumbo jet’s engine exploded shortly after the plane took off this morning for Honolulu, forcing the pilot to dump fuel and return to the airport.

None of the 423 passengers aboard Continental Micronesia Flight 002 was injured, officials said.

The cause of the explosion was being investigated, said Wally Dias, the airline’s vice president of marketing. The passengers were put on another plane that left Antonio B. Wonpat International Airport for Honolulu about four hours later.

Felix Taitano was at an outdoor flea market when he heard the explosion, looked up and saw smoke and flames coming from the engine. Taitano said he feared the plane was going to crash.

Airport spokesman Andrew Murphy said the pilot of the Boeing 747 circled the island and dumped fuel, then landed safely.

Passenger Lionel Baza, 30, called relatives after the plane returned to tell them he was all right.

``He was real scared and was gripping the arms of his seat all the way back,″ said Baza’s father, Juan Baza. ``He was wondering if they were going to make it.″

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