United Plane Loses Engine Mid-Flight, Scattering Debris In Denver Suburbs

The plane returned safely to the Denver airport shortly after takeoff.

A United flight bound for Hawaii experienced engine failure shortly after taking off from Denver International Airport, scattering debris outside the Colorado city before landing safely back at the airport Saturday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the Boeing 777-200 lost the use of its right engine shortly after takeoff.

Passengers en route to Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport instead deplaned on the runway in Denver and were bussed back to the terminal; 231 travelers were aboard, alongside 10 crew members.

“Big thanks to the pilot and crew for safely landing the aircraft,” a spokesperson for Denver International Airport said in a tweet, noting that no one on board has been reported injured.

On Twitter, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) expressed his gratitude that both passengers onboard the flight and those on the ground were reported “safe.”

Local police said that pieces of the aircraft landed in at least three different areas around Broomfield, Colorado, including scattered across a park and perilously close to some suburban homes.

Debris first began landing at 1:08 p.m. local time, the Broomfield Police Department said ― 19 minutes after the United plane took off, according to information from Flight Aware.

A pilot sending a mayday call described the situation in brief: “Just experienced heavy engine failure. Need to return immediately.”

Video taken from aboard the flight and obtained by a local NBC affiliate shows smoke and flames emanating from one of the plane’s engines as sheets of charred metal flap in the wind.

According to the video, passengers cheered when the plane touched down on solid ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the situation, the FAA said.

Dominique Mosbergen contributed reporting.

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