Southwest flight 8701, operated on a Boeing 737 Max 8, declared an emergency after it reported engine problems while departing from Orlando International Airport at 2:50 p.m. Eastern, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump issued an emergency order to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in the U.S. after one of the planes, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed shortly after takeoff and left 157 people dead. Less than four months earlier, 189 people died when a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia.
A spokesman for the FAA told HuffPost that the engine-related emergency on Tuesday’s Southwest flight was unrelated to the recent crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
While all 737 Max 8 planes are grounded under Trump’s executive order, the Southwest flight was able to take off because the plane was being ferried to a location in Victorville, California, to be stored. There were no passengers on board.
Airlines often park planes that require long-term storage in the desert or drier areas to protect them from bad weather or humidity.
After analyzing the Ethiopian Airlines flight’s recovered black box, the Ethiopian Transport Ministry said the crash had “clear similarities” with the Lion Air flight.
As part of their probe into what caused the deadly crash, Indonesian investigators have focused on the Boeing 737 Max 8′s new anti-stall technology, which automatically points the aircraft’s nose downward if it senses the plane is stalling.
The FAA said in a statement that the Southwest flight returned to the Orlando airport and landed safely. The agency is currently investigating the cause of the engine problem.