Fuel released by a passenger plane making an emergency return landing has fallen on three schools in Los Angeles.
Officials said the aircraft, a Boeing 777-200 operated by Delta Air Lines, was returning to Los Angeles International Airport due to an engine problem when it dropped a load of fuel to reduce its landing weight around noon on Tuesday (local time).
Delta said the plane, which was heading to Shanghai, landed without incident. However, fuel reportedly fell onto three schools, causing minor irritation to 40 children and adults.
Social media users claimed to have captured the moment the incident occurred, with footage emerging of what purports to be the plane releasing fuel as it approaches Los Angeles International Airport, in an attempt to lower the plane’s weight before landing.
Caught this in Bell Gardens over my house NEWS SAID IT DROPPED FUEL OVER AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN CUDAHY @KTLA @FOXLA @cnnbrk @UniNoticias @NBCLA @ABC7 @ABC @NBCNews @TelemundoNews pic.twitter.com/VG3HBpyYtn
— Sujey Hernandez (@SujeyHernandez) January 14, 2020
VIDEO ↩️ DIVERSION RETURN
Delta #DL89 to Shanghai returning to Los Angeles shortly after departure. Reported an engine failure (compressor stall) on departure.@ShorealoneFilms captured the flight dumping fuel, to reduce landing weight. ARFF standing by. pic.twitter.com/knaK5dKWXe
— Tom Podolec Aviation (@TomPodolec) January 14, 2020
Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Henry Narvaez said the fuel had “dissipated” by the time it reached the ground, AP News reported. However, the children and adults effected could still smell it.
Los Angeles Unified School District issued a statement, which reads: “students and staff were on the playground at the time and may have been sprayed by fuel or inhaled fumes.”
Paramedics were immediately called following the incident, officials said, and anyone that reported skin irritation or breathing problems were treated.
Narvaez said patients complained of mild skin irritation and were treated with soap and water.
There were no evacuation orders for the immediate Cudahy area, where the incident occurred, around 21 kilometres east of the airport.
Delta Air Lines Flight 89 was reportedly heading to Shanghai when it declared an emergency and returned to LAX, following its release of fuel to reduce its landing weight. The Federal Aviation Administration told AP News the aircraft returned and landed “without incident”.
The FAA added it was looking into the reports of schoolchildren being affected.
In a statement, Delta Air Lines said that Flight 89 had experienced an “engine issue”, which required the aircraft to return to LAX.
“The aircraft landed safely after an emergency fuel release to reduce landing weight,” the airline said, as reported by AP News.
Featured image: (iStock.com/Santiago Rodriguez Fonto)