Over the last weekend, a dramatic yet frightening incident unfolded in USA’s Denver as United Flight 328, a Boeing 777-200, burst into flames, after experiencing a catastrophic engine failure. As a result, the flight with 231 passengers and 10 crew members on board was forced to make an emergency landing at Denver International Airport. The plane landed safely, and nobody aboard or on the ground was reported hurt, authorities said. A video taken from inside the aircraft, now viral on social media, shows the engine on fire, as the pilots attempted a safe landing at the Denver International Airport. Also Read - United Airlines Faces Class Action Suit After Passenger Nearly Dies
‘We thought we were going to die’
Passengers recounted a terrifying ordeal that began to unfold shortly after the plane full of vacationers took off. The aircraft was almost at cruising altitude and the captain was giving an announcement over the intercom when a large explosion rocked the cabin, accompanied by a bright flash.
”The plane started shaking violently, and we lost altitude and we started going down.When it initially happened, I thought we were done. I thought we were going down,” said David Delucia, who was sitting directly across the aisle from the side with the failed engine. On the ground, witnesses also heard the explosion and were scared for those on board.
Pilots hailed as ‘heroes’ for safely landing plane
With fear and commotion all over the place, it was the ‘heroic’ pilots who pulled off the amazing feat of saving a plane full of people from an impending disaster. The two pilots who safely landed the jet are now being praised for their professionalism and amazing coolness with some even comparing them to Captain Sullenberger. Notably, on January 15, 2009, Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III safely landed a plane he was piloting on New York City’s Hudson River after a bird strike caused its engines to fail.
Without panicking, the two pilots not only flew the aircraft, but also declared an emergency and communicated with both air traffic control and the flight attendants on board the aircraft, Forbes reported. They also did a fine job of keeping the passengers at calm.
“The pilots did a great job in keeping the plane steady and after the fact learning we only had one working engine and we were losing parts. I’m amazed,” a passenger Maren said, talking about how the pilots deserve all the praise. “Our pilots were amazing. We would not be here if our pilots didn’t do exactly what they did,” another passenger named MishaSmith recounted to AP.
“The captain did come on, and he said that we were gonna make a landing, just a normal landing. So, it was kind of a relief for everyone just to hear him talk and be calm,” Barbara Underwood told Inside Edition. There were cheers of relief as the plane safely landed after 20 minutes of uncertainty.
What does the investigation say?
According to a report in the Associated Press, the investigation revealed that one of the two fan blades of the engine which broke off showed “signs of metal fatigue or hairline cracks from the stress of wear and tear.”
Aviation safety experts said the plane appeared to have suffered an uncontained and catastrophic engine failure. Such an event is extremely rare and happens when huge spinning discs inside the engine suffer some sort of failure and breach the armored casing around the engine that is designed to contain the damage, said John Cox, an aviation safety expert and retired airline pilot who runs an aviation safety consulting firm called Safety Operating Systems.