Airplane Engine Fault Causes US-Bound Flight to Turn Around to New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- An Air New Zealand flight to the United States was forced to return to Auckland after the Boeing 747 developed an engine fault, the airline said Thursday.

The airplane with 321 passengers bound for Los Angeles was about an hour into its journey Wednesday night when a problem developed with the deicing system in one of its four engines, said the carrier's corporate communications manager, Mike Tod.

There was no suggestion that the problem would have proven dangerous, but the plane's captain decided to return to Auckland in the interests of safety, he said.

The aircraft landed just after midnight and passengers were put up in hotels by the airline. Tod said the engine was fixed and the aircraft was scheduled to leave for Los Angeles Thursday afternoon.