A United Airlines plane that ran into engine trouble on Saturday landed safely in Denver after it dropped debris in several neighborhoods throughout Broomfield, Colorado.
United flight 328 took off from Denver International Airport at 12:49 p.m. Saturday headed to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, according to flight tracker FlightAware.com. The plane, a Boeing 777, had engine issues and safely returned to the Denver airport around 1:30 p.m., airport spokesperson Alex Renteria told USA TODAY.
Renteria said no injuries have been reported but did not have details on reports of debris from the plane’s exterior falling from the sky and, in one case, narrowly missing a home.
Broomfield police said on Twitter that debris fell in several neighborhoods at around 1 p.m. and advised people not to touch it or move it so that the National Transportation Safety Board can investigate.
“Flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu experienced an engine failure shortly after departure, returned safely to Denver and was met by emergency crews as a precaution. There are no reported injuries on board, and we will share more information as it becomes available,” United spokesperson David Gonzalez said in a statement.
In a separate statement, he added, “All passengers and crew have deplaned and been transported back” to a Denver International Airport terminal. Officials are working to get the passengers on a new flight to Honolulu “in the next few hours,” he said.
The aircraft was almost at cruising altitude and the captain was giving an announcement over the intercom when a large explosion rocked the cabin, accompanied by a bright flash.
“The plane started shaking violently, and we lost altitude and we started going down,” David Delucia, who was sitting directly across the aisle from the side with the failed engine, told the Associated Press. “When it initially happened, I thought we were done. I thought we were going down.”
Delucia and his wife took their wallets containing their driver’s licenses and put them in their pockets so that “in case we did go down, we could be ID’d,” said Delucia, who was still shaken up as he waited to board another flight for Honolulu.
The incident on the Denver-to-Honolulu flight was the second emergency for United on Saturday.
On Saturday morning, a United flight from Cancun, Mexico, to Houston diverted to New Orleans after experiencing a “mechanical issue,’’ Gonzalez said. The Boeing 737-800 landed safely, and the 107 passengers were put on another plane to Houston.