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The sight you pray you never see out of your plane window

February 22, 2021 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

A Boeing 777 has two engines – mighty big ones – and the hair-raising video below, showing one of the engines blazing fiercely after a mid-air incident on a passenger flight at the weekend, should not be viewed by anyone who suffers from a fear of flying.

The plane was a United Airlines B777-200 operating flight UA-328 from Denver, Colorado to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Shortly after takeoff, the right-hand engine failed and burst into flames, showering debris on houses and farmland below for over a kilometre, with a piece of engine inlet smashing through somebody’s roof and another piece landing in a back garden.

One of the 231 passengers and 10 crew on the flight filmed the terrifying 30 seconds of footage below, showing the shattered engine shaking and blazing:

The engine blow-out happened as the plane was climbing away from Denver Airport.

“The plane started shaking violently, and we lost altitude and we started going down,” one passenger told the BBC. The passenger described how he and his wife placed their wallets in their pockets so that “in case we did go down, we could be ID’d”.

Shortly after the right-hand engine’s inlet separated and plunged to earth, the crew declared a ‘Mayday’ emergency.

Ground observers heard a sound like an explosion and saw smoke, and debris plummeting, as the aircraft kept flying. While flames erupted from the engine, the pilot aborted the climb at about 13,000 feet (almost 4 kilometres in altitude) and requested immediate return to Denver, Simon Hradecky’s authoritative Aviation Herald reported.

The plane made a safe landing 23 minutes after departure. Emergency services confirmed an active fire in the right-hand engine, which they extinguished within a few minutes of the plane’s landing.

The aircraft was towed off the runway to a remote parking stand, where passengers disembarked (with relief, no doubt) and were bussed to the terminal. There were no injuries, either on the plane or on the ground.

US aircraft safety authorities have begun an investigation.


Written by Peter Needham

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