When the engine exploded midair, people on the ground, on whom debris was raining, ran for shelter to dodge it.
United Airlines flight 328 headed to Honolulu had to return to Denver International Airport on Saturday, February 20, after it suffered an engine failure shortly after takeoff. The faulty machine sent debris raining on soccer fields, homes, and yards in a suburb of Denver. The flight returned to the airport around 1:30 p.m., an airport spokesperson told CNN.
Of the 241 people aboard the flight, some were able to see the exposed engine spewing flames. Some people closed their windows, grabbed loved ones, and prayed. People on the ground, on whom debris was raining, ran for shelter to dodge it.
The pilots had to issue a mayday call before returning to the airport and landing the Boeing 777-200 plane safely. Fortunately, nobody was injured in the air or on the ground, reports CNN. However, passengers were shaken.
We are voluntarily & temporarily removing 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines from our schedule. We will continue to work closely with regulators to determine any additional steps and expect only a small number of customers to be inconvenienced.— United Airlines (@united) February 22, 2021
"There was a big boom and the kind of sound you don't want to hear when you're on the airplane," Travis Loock, who was flying with his wife, said in a phone call. "And I instantly put my shade up, and I was pretty frightened to see that the, the engine on my side was missing." He added, "We were just glad we weren't over the ocean, because that's where we were heading."
A passenger on United 328 took this video of flames shooting out from the engine. Some people told me they said prayers and held their loved ones' hands as they looked out the window. Flight was on its way to Hawaii from Denver. Glad everyone onboard is safe #9News pic.twitter.com/c8TNYlugU2— Marc Sallinger (@MarcSallinger) February 20, 2021
When another passenger, Bob Brown, heard the "boom," looked outside, saw what had become of the engine, and took his phone out to take a video. "We looked at each other, my wife and I, held hands, and just wished our kids that we'd see them again," he told CBS Denver. Another passenger, Mike Vena, was seated in the middle of the plane. "The plane just started shuddering and it was that way for about a half an hour until the plane landed," he said.
This photo was taken near 13th and Elmwood. Media stage in Commons Park on North side near dog park. PIO eta is 30 mins. pic.twitter.com/vfXlToB5mE— Broomfield Police (@BroomfieldPD) February 20, 2021
Another passenger, Nate Fisher, thought that lightning struck the plane. The crew of the plane was a big reason why the passengers were able to maintain calm.
"There was no panic among the crew, there was no panic among the passengers," said Mike. "I just worried about my kids because they're not with us so they're away at school and this is our first vacation alone in 21 years."
"Initially I think it was fairly panicked," Dan Smith of Portland, Maine, said, "but I think people did a good job of calming down."
JUST IN: Denver International Airport officials tell us United Airlines Flight 328 bound for Honolulu returned to the airport after an engine problem. Neighbors heard a loud boom, took these photos of what look like Boeing 777 engine nacelle in their yards. pic.twitter.com/mklpz3VG4F— Pete Muntean (@petemuntean) February 20, 2021
A mom, Brenda Dohn, who was traveling with her kids, saw the smoke from her window but didn't lose her calm either. "My daughter was sitting on the window and I was just like, 'Don't look, let's close it up, and let's just pray,'" she told 9 News. "So that's what we did. We kind of just held hands and said some prayers," she added.
Other passengers also commended the crew for making them feel safe. One of the passengers, Troy Lewis, was confident that they would land. Regardless, the passengers cheered, when they finally made it back, before exiting the plane. Some are even attempting the journey again.
The Boeing 777s with United Airlines have been grounded after federal aviation regulators told the airlines to step up inspections, as per CBS News. The National Transportation Safety Board said that two of the engine's fan blades were fractured and the remainder of the fan blades "exhibited damage."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Alex WongDisclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.