United flight 328 returned to the airport around 1:30 p.m. after suffering from an engine problem, an airport spokesperson told CNN. The flight was to Honolulu.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed in a statement that a Boeing 777-200 returned safely to Denver International Airport after “suffering a failure of the right engine shortly after take-off.”
“The FAA is aware of reports of debris near the aircraft’s flight path,” the statement said.
“No injuries reported at this time,” according to the tweet.
Additional tweets from police said debris landed in Commons Park and the Northmoor and Red Leaf neighborhoods of Broomfield. The city is approximately 25 miles north of Denver and 30 miles east of Denver International Airport.
United Airlines told CNN that there were 241 people, including 10 crew members, on board flight 328. All passengers have disembarked safely and are in a terminal in Denver, where the airline is working for. get them on a new flight.
“United Flight 328 suffered an engine failure and returned safely to Denver. We are in contact with the FAA, NTSB and local law enforcement,” United Airlines said in a statement. “The NTSB is investigating and has ordered anyone with debris from this event to contact their local law enforcement agency.”
Pilots report ‘engine failure’ on Mayday call
The pilots are heard making a mayday call, telling air traffic controllers “we had an engine failure”, according to air traffic control communications with Flight 328 obtained by CNN.
Police have received calls from residents who said they heard a loud explosion, Rachel Welte of the Broomfield Police Department said at a press conference on Saturday.
“Then they just started to see what they thought was a plane falling from the sky. What it was debris,” Welte said, describing the debris as “maybe outer pieces of the air. plane”.
Welte, speaking at the local park, pointed out how much worse things could have been.
“We could have hundreds of people here and the fact that we are not receiving any reports of injuries is absolutely shocking at this point,” she said. “It’s incredible.”
Police are working to contain the debris field secured for the National Transportation Safety Board, which will be in charge of the investigation, according to the FAA.
“The NTSB has opened an investigation into the engine event of February 20, 2021 on a United 777. Denver-based NTSB investigators are responding,” the NTSB public affairs official said Peter Knudson told CNN.
In the meantime, Broomfield Police have warned residents not to touch or move the plane debris if they see it in their yard, as the NTSB “wants all the debris to remain in place for investigation.”
NTSB ‘will find out what happened’
CNN aviation and transportation analysts described the incident as an uncontained engine failure.
“Literally, the engine explodes,” said Mary Schiavo, CNN transportation analyst, former inspector general of the Federal Department of Transportation.
Such engine failure is more likely to occur on takeoff, she said, because “you have to demand so much power from your engines to get them up there.”
CNN aviation analyst Miles O’Brien echoed that statement, saying, “Generally speaking, you insist on the system initially. This is where the system does the most work ”.
“If there is a defect hidden inside – between all those fans and turbines spinning with such enormous force and under such enormous pressure and heat differences – if there is a defect inside , this is where you will find it out. ”
Peter Goelz, former chief executive of the NTSB, told CNN the agency would be “absolutely” able to find out what happened. But he, like the police, stressed that passers-by should not touch the debris in their yard.
“There is an old adage that the first piece of the plane indicates where the crash happened,” Goelz said. “So they’re going to look at the start of the debris field to see which parts came out of that engine first and what they look like.”
“The NTSB will find the wreckage, they’ll analyze it, and this one, they’ll find out what happened.”
‘Black smoke in the sky’
Kieran Cain told CNN he was playing with his children at a local elementary school when a plane flew over and they heard a loud boom.
“We saw it go by, we heard the big explosion, we looked up, there was black smoke in the sky,” Cain told CNN.
“The debris started to rain, which you know looked like it was floating and not very heavy, but actually now looking at it’s giant pieces of metal all over the place,” he says.
“I was surprised that the plane somehow continued without interruption, without really changing its course or doing anything,” he said. “It just went on like nothing had happened.”
Cain said he and his children took refuge under an overhang as the debris fell.
CNN’s Pete Muntean, Andy Rose and Greg Wallace contributed to this report.
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