Huge metal chunks of debris rained down on a Colorado suburb Saturday afternoon after the engine on a United Airlines plane overhead burst into flames.
United Airlines flight 328 departed the Denver International Airport around noon en route to Honolulu and began experiencing right-engine failure shortly after takeoff, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration. Pilots aboard the Boeing 777-200, which was carrying 231 passengers and 10 crew members, issued a mayday call to air traffic controllers but managed to return safely to the airport at around 1:30 local time, CNN reports. There were no reported injuries onboard.
Police in Broomfield, a city about 48 km east of the airport, tweeted that no injuries have been reported so far. However, several streets were closed off Saturday as officers locate and remove the debris scattered across several neighbourhoods. The Broomfield Police Department shared photos of the wreckage online, and they’re absolutely terrifying. Like, what looks like a piece of the plane’s engine is just chilling in some guy’s yard terrifying.
— Broomfield Police (@BroomfieldPD) February 20, 2021
“Given the number of people who are at Commons Park on a weekend day we are beyond grateful that no one was injured,” the Broomfield Police Department said.
One of the folks who witnessed the incident, Kieran Cain, told CNN he was outside playing with his kids when they heard the explosion as the plane flew overhead. They took shelter under an overhang as bits of the plane crashed to the ground.
“We saw it go over, we heard the big explosion, we looked up, there was black smoke in the sky,” Cain told the outlet. “Debris started raining down, which you know, sort of looked like it was floating down and not very heavy, but actually now looking at it, it’s giant metal pieces all over the place.”
United Airlines issued the following statement about the incident, mostly reiterating what local authorities have reported so far:
“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. There are no reported injuries onboard, and we will share more information as it becomes available. “
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is taking over the investigation, according to the FAA, which also plans to assist in the case.
Given how horrifying the photos and videos of the incident are, it’s a miracle things didn’t turn out much, much worse.