A United Airlines flight bound for Hawaii was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after taking off from Denver after suffering major damage to one of its engines and dropping huge pieces of debris over a neighborhood in Colorado as dramatic audio from the mayday call reveals the pilot asking air traffic control to immediately turn the aircraft around.
Flight UA328, which was carrying 231 passengers and 10 crew members, suffered serious engine failure shortly after takeoff from Denver, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Saturday. There were no reported injuries either on board or on the ground.
The Boeing 777-200, which was scheduled to fly to Honolulu in Hawaii, diverted back to Denver and landed safely at 1:30pm local time, about 30 minutes after takeoff.
‘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 on board, and we will share more information as it becomes available,’ United spokesperson David Gonzalez said in a statement.
‘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 said in a statement.
The Broomfield Police Department posted photos on Twitter showing large, circular pieces of debris leaning against a house in the suburb about 25 miles north of Denver.
Police are asking that anyone injured come forward. One officer said it was a miracle nobody on the ground was hurt.
Huge pieces of the plane’s engine cowling could be seen littering the lawns of houses.
Additional debris was found scattered across turf field at Commons Park.
A United Airlines flight has made an emergency landing after dropping several pieces of debris in Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
Flames could be seen coming from the engine of the plane
Pictures taken from ground showed the jet’s engine on fire and trailing smoke
Cops in Broomfield responded to reports of objects falling from the sky on Saturday afternoon and saw huge metal objects in front lawns
One local resident, Kieran Cain, told CNN he was with his children at a nearby elementary school when the aircraft flew over. Seconds later, they heard a loud explosion.
‘We saw it go over, we heard the big explosion, we looked up, there was black smoke in the sky,’ Cain told CNN.
‘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,’ he said.
‘I was surprised that the plane sort of continued on uninterrupted, without really altering its trajectory or doing anything,’ he said.
‘It just kind of kept going the way it was going as if nothing happened.’
Cain told CNN he and his kids took shelter under an overhang as the debris came down.
‘I’m honestly shocked looking at this debris field and how busy Commons Park is,’ Rachel Welte of the Broomfield Police Department told KMGH-TV.
‘This is a very popular spot in Broomfield. We have the dog park, we have the turf field, there’s playgrounds.
Pieces of the aircraft landed on a football field as seen in the above image posted to Twitter by a local resident in Broomfield
Police in Broomfield released this photo showing debris from the United Airlines aircraft strewn across a football field
Pieces of debris are seen above on a local football field in Broomfield, Colorado – a suburb located 25 miles north of Denver
A piece of the aircraft is seen above near a residence in the Denver suburb of Broomfield on Saturday afternoon
More debris is seen above on a turf football field at Commons Park in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday
Another piece of debris from the Boeing 777 that suffered engine failure over Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday is seen above at Commons Park
‘This park on a day like today when it’s not as cold like it was last weekend, we could have hundreds of people here.
‘And the fact that we are still not getting reports of any injuries is absolutely shocking to me at this point.’
Pictures taken from the ground show the jet’s engine on fire and trailing smoke.
One man who said he was a passenger on the flight tweeted: ‘I’m on #UA328, pilots did an amazing job because it was loud, shaking, and scary as hell back here. Fire crews have us out on the tarmac.’
Audio of the pilot’s distress mayday call to air traffic control was released on Saturday.
‘Three twenty eight, heavy, experienced engine failure. We need to turn,’ the pilot is heard telling the air traffic control operator back in Denver.
‘Mayday, mayday, United 328…Heavy…Mayday mayday…Aircraft just experienced engine failure, need to turn immediately,’ the pilot says.
The air traffic controller than guides the pilot on where to turn in order to land the plane back safely.
Chris Vanderveen said the passengers on board the plane cheered when they touched back down after experiencing ‘engine issues’.
Police are working to locate all the debris, and urged people not to move any wreckage they found, pending the arrival of officials from the National Transportation Safety Board.
Tyler Thal, who lives in the area, told The Associated Press that he was out for a walk with his family when he noticed a large commercial plane flying unusually low and took out his phone to film it.
‘While I was looking at it, I saw an explosion and then the cloud of smoke and some debris falling from it. It was just like a speck in the sky and as I’m watching that, I’m telling my family what I just saw and then we heard the explosion,’ he said in a phone interview.
‘The plane just kind of continued on and we didn’t see it after that.’
Thal was relieved to learn later that the plane had made a safe landing.
Video posted on Twitter by a woman who said she was the daughter of people aboard the flight showed the engine fully engulfed in flames as the plane flew through the air.
Additional debris was found scattered across turf field at Commons Park
The image above shows smoke emanating from the damaged engine on the left
The image above was taken by a passenger on board. It shows the damaged engine as seen from inside the cabin
Video posted to social media shows the moment the plane landed. The passengers on board erupted in applause as the plane touched down in Denver for its emergency landing
Flight Aware tracking of Flight UA328 shows the plane circle back to land at Denver airport