A United 777-200 jumbo jet bound for Honolulu on the island of Oahu in Hawaii suffered from an uncontained engine failure shortly after take-off from Denver International Airport today. Debris from the exploded engine landed below, sending some pieces of metal as large as 13 feet across down to the ground. Some pieces pierced the roofs of homes below while other debris landed in yards, parks, and streets. As of press time, there were no reports of injuries on the ground. United confirmed there were no injuries in-flight.
The FAA issued a statement about the incident this afternoon, describing the right-engine failure of the twin engine aircraft after take-off. “The FAA is aware of reports of debris in the vicinity of the airplane’s flight path. Please contact local officials and the airline for further information about the passengers. The FAA And the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.”
One person said “It’s raining metal in Broomfield”, as images of assorted jet engine parts were found throughout the town.
— Kieran Cain (@KieranCain) February 20, 2021
Large pieces of debris from the plane also hit a nearby soccer field, sending children and their parents running for cover.
“Given the large number of people who were at Commons Park on a weekend day we are beyond grateful that no one was injured,” the Broomfield Police said. The police department issued a “Code Red” alert to 1,400 residents around Commons Park, Northmoor, and Red Leaf asking them to look for debris in their yards.
United released a brief statement about the flight: “Flight UA328 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. We are in contact with the FAA, NTSB, and local law enforcement.”
There were 231 passengers and 10 crew on board at the time of the incident. The aircraft used on the route contains 28 first class and 336 economy class seats for a maximum potential passenger load of 364.
Pilots could be heard calmly declaring “MAYDAY” shortly after departure, requesting crews on the ground to allow them to promptly return the aircraft to Denver International Airport. In social media posts, members of the public praised the pilots for safely landing the plane. On the Weatherboy Facebook page, Laura McKinnon wrote, “If I ever fly United I would want these pilots… great job today.”
Broomfield police urges people to call 911 if they were injured by any falling debris. “If you find debris please don’t touch it or move it,” the police said. “The NTSB wants all debris to remain in place for investigation.” Broomfield police says if debris is found to report it to dispatch at 303-438-6400.
United Airlines Boeing 777-200 (N772UA, built 1994) experienced serious failure of engine #2 after take-off at Denver Intl Airport (KDEN), CO on flight #UA328 to Honolulu. Large engine parts fell into Broomfield neighborhood. Returned to land at Denver. @KieranCain @BroomfieldPD pic.twitter.com/yV4nJkEgrH
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) February 20, 2021