DiCaprio Aboard Delta Flight When Engine Conked

Actor grateful pilot was able to turn back, land at JFK.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Actor Leonardo DiCaprio arrives for the opening of the new Armani 5th Avenue store on February 17, 2009 in New York City.

    "Titanic" star Leonardo DiCaprio avoided a real life disaster Sunday, when his Moscow-bound flight blew an engine and had to return to New York's JFK Airport.

    The 36-year-old star was aboard a commercial Delta flight bound for Russia when one of its engines shut down, his rep said. Sources said the pilot skillfully landed the plane and a grateful DiCaprio signed autographs for the entire crew.

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    "En route to attend the Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Leonardo DiCaprio was one of the passengers aboard Delta Flight 30,” a statement from DiCaprio's rep said. “He wishes to commend the actions of the pilot and flight crew in bringing the plane to a safe landing.”

    The jet circled the airport for 90 minutes and dump about 60,000 pounds of fuel Sunday evening before landing on the runway, where a crew of 160 firefighters was on emergency standby.

    The Tiger Summit is a four-day meeting on how to help tigers avoid extinction. The summit, oddly, was called by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who shot a Siberian tiger two years ago with a tranquilizer gun.

    DiCaprio is a supporter of the World Wildlife Fund's Save Tigers Now campaign, which is trying to raise $20 million to double the species' numbers by 2022.

    Selected Reading: Us Magazine, The New York Times, IMDb.