By David Jones
NEWARK N.J. (Reuters) - An Air India flight with 313 passengers onboard was forced to return to Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday after an engine on the Boeing 777 appeared to overheat and catch fire, according to airport officials.
The officials previously said a bird strike may have caused the fire but later ruled that out after conducting an investigation, said Erica Dumas, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
A few minutes after taking off, the pilot of Air India Flight 144 reported flames coming from an engine on the left side of the aircraft, Dumas said. The plane returned to the airport about half an hour after taking off.
The pilot requested that an ambulance wait at the terminal but there were no reported injuries, Dumas said. She added that the flight bound for Mumbai had multiple blown tires that may have been caused by the brakes overheating.
The airline was searching for alternate flights for passengers to India.
Dumas said the airport was operating normally as of Sunday evening.
(Editing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)