Aviation

Rome showered with engine fragments from Norwegian Air plane

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Roman residents have been forced to duck for cover as hot metal engine fragments fell out of the sky from a passing Norwegian Air jet.

A Boeing 787, operated by Norwegian Air on flight DY7115, was departing Aeroporti di Roma on 10 August when it encountered a “technical issue” a few minutes after take-off, a spokesperson for the airline told Travel Weekly.

Metal fragments, “like bullets”, reportedly rained down from the sky as the jet passed overhead. Romans living under the aircraft’s flight path reportedly had to run for cover as they were pounded by “hundreds” of long metal fragments.

One resident, speaking to Roman news agency Il Messaggero, described it as a “storm of steel and iron”.

“I screamed and ran into the house,” the resident said. “When it stopped, we went out and saw what had happened to our daughter’s car.

“The rear window was shattered completely by a piece of metal so hot it had set fire to a jacket on the back shelf.”

Dozens of cars and homes in the Isola Sacra area of Rome were reportedly damaged, but no one was hit by any metal fragments.

One man had a near miss, according to Il Messaggero, while he was sunbathing in his garden when a piece of metal, hot enough to burn, landed and caught his shirt.

A spokesperson for Norwegian Air said the aircraft returned to the airport after the incident where it landed safely. However, The Times reported that before landing at Aeroporti di Roma, the aircraft dumped its fuel in the sea.

“All 298 passengers on board the flight were taken care of in the terminal by our handling agent and the airport,” a spokesperson for the airline told Travel Weekly.

An investigation is currently underway, with Norwegian Air working with Aeroporti di Roma, Boeing and Rolls-Royce to determine the cause of the incident. Due to the ongoing investigation, Norwegian Air was unable to comment further on the specifics of the event.

Rolls-Royce, the manufacturer of the Trent 1000 engine used in the Boeing 787, told Travel Weekly it is working closely with Norwegian Air, Boeing and the relevant authorities to support the investigation.

“We are working with our customer to provide support and technical assistance,” a Rolls-Royce spokesperson said.

“We are committed to working closely with the airline, aircraft manufacturer and the relevant authorities to support their investigation.”

In separate, unrelated reports, Norwegian Air announced it will end transatlantic routes as soon as September, citing the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX as a factor for its decision.

“We have concluded that these routes are no longer commercially viable,” Matthew Wood, senior vice president for long-haul commercial at Norwegian Air, said in a statement.

Norwegian will cancel all six routes from Dublin, Cork and Shannon to the US and Canada from 15 September 2019.

“Since March, we have tirelessly sought to minimise the impact on our customers by hiring (wet-leasing) replacement aircraft to operate services between Ireland and North America,” Wood said.

“However, as the return to service date for the 737 MAX remains uncertain, this solution is unsustainable.”

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