updated 1/23/2008 3:57:55 PM ET 2008-01-23T20:57:55

Two United Airlines flights bound for the United States were forced to return to Sao Paulo on Wednesday because of mechanical problems, the airline's Brazilian office said.

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United Flight 842, headed for Chicago with 142 passengers and 12 crew members aboard, returned to Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport just after midnight, the airline said in a statement.

Washington, D.C.-bound Flight 860, with 175 passengers and 12 crew, turned back and landed at 2:34 a.m., United said. It did not describe the nature of the mechanical problems.

Some of the passengers were transferred to other airlines, but most spent the night in Sao Paulo and were to fly out on special flights Wednesday night, the company said.

Two flights with mechanical problems at the same time "is not very common, and not very pleasant," United press aide Bruno Goncalves said by telephone from Sao Paulo.

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