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 Costa Rica was Alaska Airlines' third destination outside the U.S. after Canada and Mexico. Flights between Los Angeles, California and San José began in 2015. ((Via Alaska Airlines))

An Alaska Airlines flight departing from Costa Rica on Tuesday morning returned to Juan Santamaría International Airport and made a safe emergency landing after suffering an apparent engine issue.

According to air traffic control conversations, the Boeing 737-800 aircraft operating Alaska Airlines flight 299 from Costa Rica to Los Angeles may have experienced damage to an engine upon departure due to either rock ingestion or a bird strike.

Seven Firefighters Corps vehicles responded to the emergency, but the plane - which carried 142 passengers - landed safely and without further incident.

The runway was inspected for debris and cleared for use by noon, according to AERIS, the airport operator. Some flights were delayed while inspections were conducted.

Juan Santamaría International Airport, Costa Rica's largest and most important international gateway, expects to handle nearly 3 million passengers during the 2019-20 tourism high season.


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