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Boeing 777 flight makes unscheduled landing in Moscow after engine issue reported

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By Euronews with AP, AFP
The Illuminated city of Moscow seen through the window of an aircraft coming in to land at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia.
The Illuminated city of Moscow seen through the window of an aircraft coming in to land at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia.   -   Copyright  Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
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A Boeing 777 aircraft has made an unscheduled stop in Moscow, reportedly over an engine issue.

The Rossiya Airlines flight FV4520 took off from Hong Kong International airport at 16:47 (CET) and was due to arrive at Madrid Barajas airport in Spain on Friday morning.

But the aircraft unexpectedly landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport shortly before 05:00 local time.

"During cargo flight 4520 Hong Kong-Madrid, a malfunction of the engine control sensor was detected," the company said in a statement to AFP, adding that "the crew decided to make an emergency landing" at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

"The landing went normally. The plane will resume its flight to Madrid after 12:00 (10:00 CET)," added Rossiya, a subsidiary company of the Russian state-owned Aeroflot.

Interfax news agency, citing an anonymous source, said the failure occurred on one of the left engine control channels.

No injuries have been reported, and Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department says there were no passengers aboard the cargo flight.

Euronews has contacted Rossiya Airlines to corroborate the information.

The incident comes less than a week after the engine of a Boeing 777 aircraft, operated by United Airlines, caught fire shortly after take-off from Denver.

As the plane returned to make an emergency landing in Colorado, debris from the engine fell on a residential suburb.

The investigation by US authorities is focused on a fan blade that appeared to be weakened over time.

More than 120 Boeing 777 models equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000-112 engines were grounded worldwide after the incident. According to Boeing, only American, Japanese and Korean companies were involved in the action.

According to the flight-tracking website FlightRadar24, the aircraft which landed at Moscow airport was a 15-year-old Boeing 777-300ER model. These aircraft use engines different from the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines currently under scrutiny.

Rossiya Airlines also told AFP that all its Boeing 777-300ERs were equipped with GE90 engines from US manufacturer General Electric

Russia's federal aviation authority, Rosaviatsiya, had announced earlier this week that the Boeing models used by Russian airlines would not have to remain on the ground after the incident in Denver.

Boeing's reputation had already been damaged after its new 737 Max medium-haul aircraft was involved in two fatal accidents and grounded for nearly two years.

Engine failures are not uncommon in civil aviation and aircraft are certified to fly for several hours on one engine before reaching an airport. The potential danger comes especially in the event of an engine explosion, whose debris can damage the rest of the aircraft.