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A Continental Airlines plane yesterday made a safe emergency landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport after an engine failure caused the pilot to change route and head back to the Israeli airport shortly after takeoff.

The Boeing 777 was headed for the U.S. with 241 passengers onboard.

The plane had to circle Israel's airspace in order to rid itself of excess fuel weight before finally landing at the airport, while local air traffic controllers declared a state of emergency.

The plane eventually landed safely, after more than 70 ambulances reported to the scene, in line with airport safety precautions. Upon landing, an initial investigation found that the engine temperature was above normal, following an electric short circuit.

A passenger on the flight told Haaretz that no panic was felt. "Everyone was calm," he said. "The pilot explained that there was a problem but that he did not foresee trouble landing.

Only after landing did we start getting worried phone calls from relatives telling us that we had made a forced emergency landing. We weren't even aware that this was the case."