Plane Debris Falls on Broomfield After an Airplane’s Engine Failure

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Hannah Kutnick, Writer

A plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Denver International Airport on Saturday, February 20, 2021 after the right engine failed mid-flight, causing metal airplane parts to fall in the Broomfield, Colorado area.

United Airlines Flight 328 took off from DIA’s Runway 25 at around 12:15 p.m. mountain time. The airplane was headed to Honolulu, Hawaii. At around 1:00 p.m., when the plane reached approximately 13,000 feet in altitude, the right engine failed and eventually the engine covering detached from the engine, causing debris from the plane to fall to nearby areas. After the pilots contacted air traffic control, they landed that plane and passengers were able to leave the airplane on Runway 26-Right. There were no reported injuries among the 10 crew members and approximately 230 passengers.

United Airlines Flight 328 was on a Boeing 777-200 with Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines. Boeing recommended that all 777s with this engine should be grounded, and the FAA has ordered inspections of all such airplanes. United has since halted use of all 52 of these planes that they own, 24 of which were being used and 28 of which were in storage. “Since yesterday, we’ve been in touch with regulators at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and FAA and will continue to work closely with them to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service. As we swap out aircraft, we expect only a small number of customers to be inconvenienced,” said United Airlines in a statement they released the evening of Sunday, February 21.

Some residents of Broomfield recorded video of the debris falling from the sky. Fortunately, no one was injured. Residents were asked to call the Broomfield police if they found pieces of the plane, instead of calling the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) or the Denver International Airport. There were some reports of home damage, but no one was injured.

“A lot of people said they heard that really loud explosion which startled a lot of people, and then they just started seeing basically they thought was a plane falling from the sky,” said Rachel Welte, the Broomfield police spokeswoman. “I’m honestly shocked looking at this debris field and how busy Commons Park is. This is a very popular spot in Broomfield. We have the dog park. We have the turf field. There are playgrounds. This park on a day like today, when it’s not as cold as last weekend, we could have hundreds of people here.”