United flight to Japan aborts back to SFO

A United Airlines flight headed to Japan was forced to turn around and head back to San Francisco Monday after one of its engines experienced a mechanical problem, according to an airline spokeswoman.

Flight 837 left San Francisco International Airport at 11:36 a.m. with 202 passengers and 15 crewmembers aboard, United spokeswoman Erin Benson said.

The flight was headed to Narita, Japan, but the Boeing 747 began experiencing problems in one of its four engines and had to turn around and come back, Benson said.

The plane had not yet landed back at SFO as of 1:30 p.m. The pilot did not declare an emergency as a result of the engine problem, Benson said.

Benson was not sure how old the plane is or if it has experienced mechanical problems in the past.

United is working to place the passengers on other flights, Benson said.