Mid-air drama as packed American passenger plane makes U-turn in skies over South Yorkshire and returns to Heathrow

The American Airlines flight pictured returning to Heathrow. (Photo: RadarBox24).
The American Airlines flight pictured returning to Heathrow. (Photo: RadarBox24).
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A packed American Airlines passenger plane has made a dramatic U-turn in the skies above South Yorkshire and returned to London's Heathrow Airport.

American Airlines flight AA173 from the capital to Raleigh-Durham Airport in the USA took off shortly after 10am this morning but was forced to turn back south only a few moments into its journey.

A radar app tracking the plane, which was heading for North Carolina, shows the aircraft making a U-turn above Sheffield and heading back across the Midlands towards Heathrow.

The plane was due to touchdown in the US at around 14.20 this afternoon.

It is not clear at this stage what has forced the aircraft to turn back but there are reports of a mechanical problem and the flight is understood to be safely back on the ground.

RadarBox24, which tracks flight movements, tweeted: "American Airlines #AA173 is returning to London Heathrow."