NEWARK — A Boeing 777 bound for Brazil that developed a mechanical problem made an emergency landing early Thursday morning.

People on the ground recorded video of the plane shooting sparks and dropping what appeared to be debris.

United Flight 149 with 256 passengers on board bound for São Paulo, Brazil left Newark Liberty International at 11 p.m., according to the airline.

The flight made several circles over the Atlantic Ocean to burn off fuel before safely returning to Newark around 1:10 a.m.

Airplane burns off fuel before return

An initial maintenance inspection determined a hydraulic pump issue is to blame, the airline said in a statement.

Video shows sparks coming off the bottom of the plane. Three pieces of debris appear to have fallen near a parking lot. A separate tweet purported to show a large piece of metal from the plane on the pavement.

The passengers will leave today on a new plane.

The FAA will investigate the incident.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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