‘Mayday!’: Engine explodes during United Airlines flight, debris rains from sky as pilot makes emergency landing

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A whole lot of people, from the passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 328 to the Denver homeowners whom they flew over, got extremely lucky this Saturday.

Thanks to good fortune, all of them survived in one piece — unlike the plane, which almost came apart at the seams midair, leading to several large pieces of “debris” “raining down on soccer fields, homes and yards in a Denver suburb,” according to CNN.

The flight began normal enough, departing from Denver International Airport at 12:49 pm Saturday afternoon en route to Honolulu. Shortly thereafter, however, all hell broke loose.

“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,” passenger Davis Delucia told the Associated Press.

“There was a big boom and the kind of sound you don’t want to hear when you’re on the airplane. And I instantly put my shade up, and I was pretty frightened to see that the, the engine on my side was missing,” another passenger, Travis Loock, told CNN.

Delucia, Loock and everybody else aboard the flight thankfully survived thanks to the pilots quickly turning the plane around and landing back at DIA.

See stunning footage from before and during the landing below:

In a statement released after the plane safely landed, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the right engine had failed mid-flight and debris from the engine had begun falling “in the vicinity of the airplane’s flight path.”

Below is a photo of what the failed engine looked like upon landing:

The homeowners whom United 328 had flown over were just as lucky.

As seen below courtesy of the Broomfield Police Department, some of the debris from the failed engine narrowly missed crashing into a home:

The home seen above is owned by Kirby Klements and his wife. Speaking with the AP, he said they’d both been inside when they heard a sudden boom.

“A few seconds later, the couple saw a massive piece of debris fly past their window and into the bed of Klements’ truck, crushing the cab and pushing the vehicle into the dirt,” according to the AP.

“If it had been 10 feet different, it would have landed right on top of the house. And if anyone had been in the truck, they would have been dead,” he told the AP.

See more horrifying footage of debris raining to the Earth below:

These large pieces of debris could have easily killed someone. Easily.

“We could have hundreds of people here and the fact that we’re not getting reports of any injuries is absolutely shocking at this point. It’s amazing,” Rachel Welte of the Broomfield Police Department reportedly said during a press briefing held at a local park where some of the debris had landed.

What comes next is an official investigation.

“NTSB has opened an investigation into the Feb. 20, 2021, engine event on a United 777. Denver-based NTSB investigators are responding,” National Transportation Safety Board public affairs officer Peter Knudson told CNN.

It’s believed the plane “suffered an uncontained and catastrophic engine failure,” as reported by the AP.

“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,” the outlet noted.

As for the passengers, some sat down for a brief cocktail party before reportedly jumping on another flight to Honolulu.

“We’re having a cocktail,” Loock said to CNN.

He added, “And, yeah, we’re going to try it again. We’re going to try it again. The odds are with us this time.”

United Airlines reportedly said in a statement that most of the passengers did indeed just hop another flight to Honolulu, while “those who did not wish to travel with us this evening were provided hotel accommodations.”

Hopefully, the airline paid for their cocktails as well.

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Vivek Saxena

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