Debris from a United Airlines plane fell on the outskirts of Denver during an emergency landing on Saturday after one of its engines suffered a catastrophic failure and pieces of the engine crankcase rained on a neighborhood where he narrowly missed a house.
The plane landed safely and no one on board or on the ground was injured, authorities said.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that the Boeing 777-200 returned to Denver International Airport after suffering a failure of the right engine shortly after takeoff. Flight 328 was flying from Denver to Honolulu when the incident occurred, the agency said.
United said in a separate statement that there were 231 passengers and 10 crew on board. The airline has not released any further details.
The Broomfield Police Department posted photos on Twitter showing large circular debris leaning against a suburban house about 25 miles north of Denver. The police demand that any injured person report.
Tyler Thal, who lives in the area, told The The Bharat Express News he was out for a walk with his family when he noticed a large commercial plane flying unusually low and pulled out his phone to film it.
“As I was looking at it I saw an explosion, then the cloud of smoke and debris falling from it. It was like a spot in the sky and looking at that I tell my family what I just saw. and then we heard the explosion, ”he said in a telephone interview.
Thal said he was relieved to learn later that the plane had made a safe landing.
A video posted on Twitter showed that the engine was completely engulfed in flames as the plane flew through the air.
I saw an explosion on this plane flying low over @broomfield about 45 minutes ago. Debris fell from the plane and left a black cloud of smoke. The plane continued. Anything new if this plane has landed safely? @BroomfieldPD @NMFirePIO @ 9NEWS @ KyleClark pic.twitter.com/paMCdiuWMN
Kirby Klements was inside with his wife when they heard a huge booming sound, he said. Seconds later, the couple saw a huge piece of debris pass their window and into the bed of Klements’ truck, crushing the cab and pushing the vehicle into the dirt.
He estimated the circular engine cover to be 4.5 meters in diameter. Thin pieces of fiberglass insulation used in the plane’s engine fell from the sky “like ash” for about 10 minutes, he said, and several large pieces of insulation landed in the sky. his back yard.
“If it had been different than 10 feet, it would have landed just above the house,” he said in a telephone interview with the TBEN. “And if anyone had been in the truck, they would have died.”
“ Cracks ” in the culture of aviation safety
Aviation safety experts said the plane appeared to have suffered an uncontrolled and catastrophic engine failure. Such an event is extremely rare and occurs when huge rotating discs inside the engine suffer some kind of failure and rupture the armored casing around the engine which is designed to contain the damage, said John Cox, safety expert. airline and retired airline pilot. an aviation safety consultancy firm called Safety Operating Systems.
“This unbalanced disc has a lot of force in it, and it spins at several thousand rotations per minute … and when you have that much centrifugal force it has to go somewhere,” he said during a telephone interview.
Pilots frequently train to deal with such an event and would immediately shut off anything flammable in the engine, including fuel and hydraulic fluid, with a single switch, Cox said.
Former National Transportation Safety Board President Jim Hall called the incident “a flaw in our aviation safety culture” [that] must be addressed. “
Hall, who served on the board from 1994 to 2001, criticized the FAA over the past decade as “a tendency to let manufacturers provide oversight of aviation the public paid for.” This is particularly true for Boeing, he said.
Despite the frightening appearance of a burning engine, most of these incidents did not result in loss of life, Cox said.
The latest fatality on a U.S. airline flight involved such an engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas in April 2018. A passenger was killed when the engine disintegrated over 30,000 feet over Pennsylvania and debris struck the aircraft, shattering the window. next to his seat. She was forced halfway through the window before other passengers brought her back inside.
In that case, the failure was blamed on a broken fan blade in an engine of the Boeing 737. The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered airlines to step up inspections of fan blades on certain engines manufactured by CFM International, a joint- venture of General Electric and France. Safran SA
In 2010, a Qantas Airbus A380 suffered a frightening uncontained engine failure shortly after take off from Singapore. Engine bursts damaged critical aircraft systems, but the pilots were able to land safely. The incident was blamed on the faulty manufacture of a hose in the Rolls Royce engine.
“The flames scare everyone. But they’re the least of the problems because you’re going to put them out and you’re going to put out anything that can burn,” Cox said.