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Mary Foster, Associated Press
A United Airlines plane sits on a runway after making an emergency landing shortly after takeoff at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Monday, April 4, 2011 in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS — A United flight from New Orleans to San Francisco returned to the New Orleans airport within minutes after takeoff Monday, with light white smoke coming from an engine.

The plane was rocking back and forth in windy weather, and never gained much altitude.

As soon as Flight 497 was back on the ground, flight attendants began shouting "Leave everything. Get out! Get out!" An Associated Press reporter aboard the flight said passengers slid down the front and back slides.

There was no announcement, and no interior lights or seat belt announcements were turned on.