An Air Canada Express flight from Nanaimo to Vancouver was forced to turn around Thursday morning after a fire broke out in one engine shortly after takeoff.

Passenger Trevor Fisher said it happened after the wheels had come up on flight AC8258, which had departed at 7:20 a.m. PT.

"All of a sudden on the right side there was a giant flash and some other people on that side of the plane saw fire and the engine just completely gave out," he said.

Air Canada released a statement saying the incident was caused by an engine oil issue.

"Shortly after takeoff from Nanaimo, the crew received an indication of an engine oil issue and subsequently observed flames near one of the engines. The flight crew followed normal procedures by releasing fire retardant into the engine nacelle and successfully extinguished the flames."

The plane returned to the airport safely where it was met by emergency crews. No one was injured. There were 35 passengers and three crew on board the flight.