“Pratt & Whitney is actively coordinating with operators and regulators to support the revised inspection interval for the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines that power Boeing 777 aircraft,” the company said. “Any additional investigative updates regarding this event will be at the discretion of the NTSB. Pratt & Whitney will continue to work to ensure the safe operation of the fleet.”
What happened on the flight
“United 328 Heavy – Mayday Mayday … Depart Denver. United 328 Heavy Mayday. Aircraft just experienced engine failure; need to turn immediately,” audio from the plane’s air traffic was heard on Saturday.
The PW4000 engine has 22 blades, the researchers said, one of which was found lodged within the jet engine’s containment ring. Another was found on a soccer field in Broomfield, Colorado.
One of the jet’s right engine blades came loose on the shaft, likely hitting another that broke in the middle of the flight, investigators said Monday. The former shows damage “consistent with metal fatigue,” said NTSB President Robert Sumwalt.
The flight fuselage also suffered damage to a non-critical composite part designed to make the plane more aerodynamic, Sumwalt said.
On the plane, passengers saw the engine completely stripped of its outer casing, according to video from passenger Travis Loock.
The mood was tense, Loock told CNN, but everyone was “very calm” on board when the pilot approached to say they would be landing in four minutes.
“My daughter was sitting in the window and … I was like, ‘Don’t look, let’s close it and pray,'” said passenger Brenda Dohn.
The trail of damage
None of the passengers were injured. Residents of Broomfield were also unaffected by the falling debris that stretched a mile.
“We dispatched police officers and within minutes we were on the scene of some of these houses, and we actually saw some of these big pieces of debris,” Broomfield police spokeswoman Rachel Welte said Saturday.
Looking at the debris field and how busy the area was, Welte said, “The fact that we are not getting any injury reports yet is absolutely shocking at this point.”
“This park on a day like today, when it’s not as cold as last weekend, we could have hundreds of people here.”
“I’m sitting here looking at this piece of junk in my driveway thinking, ‘Oh my God, what the hell am I going to do now?'” Klements said of the vehicle he invested so much time and money in.
“We could see that there was a giant cloud of black smoke high in the sky, followed immediately by, you know, what looked like pieces of the aircraft,” Cain told CNN. “Basically a shower of things falling from the sky.”
It may take a while before community members get a payment from United Airlines, but most standard insurance plans should cover “objects falling from the sky,” Carole Walker of the Information Association told KCNC. Rocky Mountain Insurance.
Where is the investigation going?
The engine in question will be removed from the aircraft for further inspection, Sumwalt said.
A section of a shovel will be examined Tuesday after it was flown by a private jet Monday night to a Pratt & Whitney lab, where investigators believe they can determine how long the shovel was damaged before failing.
In the wake of the engine failure, Boeing recommended discontinuing use of 777s that have a Pratt & Whitney 4000 engine, and United Airlines has already recalled them after the incident. The FAA also issued an emergency order early Sunday saying it would step up inspections of Boeing 777 jets equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines.
CNN’s Gregory Wallace, Pete Muntean, Hollie Silverman, Alta Spells, David Williams, Konstantin Toropin, Chuck Johnston, Andy Rose, Gregory Clary, and Lucy Kafanov contributed to this report.