United Flight 328 experiences engine failure


Courtesy of mehabe.com

Jazmin Velenczei, Web Editor

United Flight 328, heading from Denver to Honolulu, suffered an engine failure shortly after takeoff, resulting in debris raining down on soccer fields, homes, and backyards in one of Denver’s suburbs, Broomfield. After the police department, in Broomfield, Denver said that it had received reports that an airplane flying over the suburb had dropped debris, the flight returned to Denver International Airport 30 minutes after it took off. United Airlines said in a statement that there were 241 people aboard, including 10 crew members. 


Luckily, all passengers arrived safely in Denver and were sent to a terminal to wait for the new flight that would take them to their final destination. The majority of the passengers chose to take another United flight to Honolulu, whereas those who didn’t were provided hotel accommodations for the night.


A passenger, traveling with his wife, described the incident as “There was a big boom and the kind of sound that you don’t want to hear when you’re on the airplane.” About 20 minutes into the flight, “[He] instantly put [his] shade up, and was pretty frightened to see that the engine on [his] side was missing.” After the boom, pilots of the United Flight 328 issued a mayday call to tell air traffic controllers that they were experiencing an engine failure in mid-air. Police also received calls from residents of Broomfield, stating that they had heard a loud explosion and seen debris falling down. Rachel Welte of Broomfield Police Department remarked that not getting reports of any injuries is  “absolutely shocking at this point” and “it’s amazing.” 


Fortunately, the airplane wasn’t above the ocean when the failure occurred, thus it could turn back to Denver Airport securely. It is unclear yet why the plane didn’t dump fuel, which they usually do in case of an emergency landing just briefly after takeoff, since the plane might be too heavy to land. The investigation is still ongoing which could take more than a year, but in the meantime, police requested residents not to touch debris, even if it’s in their backyard because they want it to remain in place for investigators. Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident. 


Passengers on United Flight 328 reported that even though the mood was very tense, the crew managed to stay calm, including the pilot who came on to say they would be landing in four minutes. Kieran Cain, who was playing with his children at a local elementary school, said that “there was black smoke in the sky,” when they looked up, after hearing the explosion. 


Passenger Brenda Dohn, traveling with her daughter “was just like ‘don’t look, like let’s close it up and let’s just pray.’” Travis Loock told reporters that “a lot of people couldn’t see the engine on that side, right, so [he] was a little more freaked out because [he] could see it, and [he] knew that was not right.” Jim Hunter, who was coaching soccer practice in Commons park when the incident occurred, described what happened as “[debris] were just everywhere. The sky was full of these pieces raining down on the field,” but thankfully no one injured on the soccer team.