The Boeing 777 was heading from Denver to Honolulu with 231 passengers and 10 crew members, when flames erupted in the right engine, shortly after takeoff. The plane quickly lost altitude and pieces of the aircraft fell on people’s homes.
“We have had engine failures, we have to go back. SOS, SOS United 328. SOS, SOS… ”, the pilot is heard in a recording obtained by Denver Post.
The Denver control tower asks him to repeat, and the pilot of Flight 328 asks for emergency help. “SOS, an aircraft engine has just failed, we need to return immediately,” the pilot said.
Passenger: “We started praying”
On board the aircraft, passengers were filming the engine on fire. Some of them told CNN about the moments they went through after hearing a bang.
– michaela? (@michaelagiulia) February 20, 2021
“There was a loud bang, one you don’t want to hear when you’re on a plane. I looked out the window and saw that the engine on my side was missing. We were glad we weren’t over the ocean, “said one passenger, Travis Loock.
Another passenger said that after seeing what had happened, she began to pray.
“My daughter was sitting at the window and I told her not to look and to start praying. And that’s what I did. We held hands and began to pray, “said Branda Dohn.
Finally, the plane landed safely, and the passengers have words of praise for the crew members, because they knew how to keep the situation under control, without panic on board.
Following the explosion, several pieces of the aircraft fell on the houses of the inhabitants of the state of Colorado.
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Tyler Thal, who lives in the area, told the Associated Press that he was walking with his family when he saw a large commercial plane flying unusually from below and took out his phone to film it.
“As I was looking at it, I saw an explosion and then a cloud of smoke and some debris falling from it,” said Tyler Thal.
I saw an explosion on this low flying aircraft over @broomfield about 45 minutes ago. Debris fell from the plane and left a black cloud of smoke. The plane continued on. Any new on if this plane landed safely? @BroomfieldPD @NMFirePIO @9NEWS @KyleClark pic.twitter.com/paMCdiuWMN
— Tyler Thal (@tgthal) February 20, 2021
United Airlines stopped 24 Boeing 777s from flying
Following the incident, the American airline United Airlines announced that it stopped 24 Boeing 777 aircraft from flying, informs Mediafax.
Japan has also asked all airlines using Boeing 777s with the same engine model to avoid its airspace.
Boeing agrees with Japan’s decision and has recommended suspending all 777 aircraft with the same engine. The manufacturer says there are currently 69 aircraft in service with this engine. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, United is the only American airline to use such aircraft, with the others being in Japan and South Korea.
The agency requested additional inspections of Boeing 777 aircraft equipped with the Pratt & Whitney 4000 engine following the incident.
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