A Boeing 777 out of Denver with 231 passengers and 10 crew onboard has scattered debris over a residential area near Denver after one of its engines exploded. The jet was able to return safely and land at Denver airport. No injuries onboard or on the ground were reported.
Police in the town of Broomfield posted pictures of what appears to be the front of an engine casing in the front garden of a home. Passengers onboard described a “large explosion” shortly after take-off.
The United Airlines Flight 328 bound for Honolulu, suffered a failure in its right engine, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said. One passenger who was on the flight told AP news agency that the pilot was giving an announcement when there was a loud explosion.
“The plane started shaking violently, and we lost altitude and we started going down,” David Delucia said. He added that he and his wife placed their wallets in their pockets so that “in case we did go down, we could be ID’d”.
The incident happened shortly after 13:00 local time on Saturday.
Broomfield police urged residents not to touch or move the debris. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be carrying out an investigation.
The 26-year-old 777 was powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. Investigators will focus on what caused the engine on the plane to fail and will look at whether a fan blade failed.
The Daily Mail reports,
Boeing declined to comment and referred questions to United.
‘Flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu experienced an engine failure shortly after departure, returned safely to Denver and was met by emergency crews as a precaution,’ United spokesperson David Gonzalez said in a statement. ‘There are no reported injuries on board, and we will share more information as it becomes available.’
All passengers were to be rebooked on a new flight to Hawaii, the airline said.
Audio of the pilot’s distress mayday call to air traffic control was released on Saturday.
‘Three twenty eight, heavy, experienced engine failure. We need to turn,’ the pilot is heard telling the air traffic control operator back in Denver.
‘Mayday, mayday, United 328…Heavy…Mayday mayday…Aircraft just experienced engine failure, need to turn immediately,’ the pilot says.
The air traffic controller then guided the pilot on where to turn in order to land the plane back safely.