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Engine failure on Spirit Airlines plane under investigation by U.S. safety officials

By Lisa Maria Garza

DALLAS (Reuters) - An engine failure that forced an emergency landing of a Spirit Airlines Inc jet near Dallas is under investigation by federal safety officials who are recalling some employees furloughed by the U.S. government shutdown to help with the probe.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Wednesday it received a report of an uncontained engine failure, which means that parts of the engine broke off and created hazardous, flying debris.

Shortly after takeoff on Tuesday from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the engine shut down and smoke filled the cabin of the Airbus A319. The airplane with 150 people on board was able to land safely with one engine and no one on the flight headed to Atlanta was injured, airline spokeswoman Misty Pinson said in an email.

"I can only confirm that we had a report of an uncontained engine failure and that we have recalled investigative staff to initiate an investigation," the NTSB said in a statement.

Passengers interviewed when they landed in Atlanta by television station WGCL described hearing a blast and seeing flames on the side of the plane before smoke swept through the cabin.

The NTSB said it could not provide updates on the incident because of furloughs related to the federal government shutdown.

(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)

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