Planespotters’ weekends turn traumatic as engine pieces fall from the sky in the Netherlands and the US

It’s a bird, it’s a plane… holy crap there’s a nacelle in my kitchen


In what can only be described as a bad day for Boeing, not one but two of its planes suffered engine fire and began shedding parts along their respective flight paths.

Shortly after takeoff, a Boeing 747-400 cargo plane flying from Maastricht Aachen airport in the Netherlands to New York on Saturday afternoon suffered an engine fire. Debris rained over a residential neighbourhood, damaging homes and piercing through the tops of cars.

Two people were injured, one of whom was hospitalised. The plane was diverted to Liege, Belgium - about 40km (25 miles) away - where the damaged engine was scheduled for replacement.

A few hours later, flight UA 328 from Denver to Honolulu suffered an eerily similar issue as passengers videoed a nacelle-less engine all ablaze outside their Boeing 777 window.

Residents of Broomfield, Colorado, located 16 miles (~27km) north of Denver, fled parks and marveled at debris near-misses as emergency calls flooded 911 and the Broomsfield Police Department.

The aircraft made a quick turnaround to Denver International Airport where it landed safely. Miraculously, there were no known injuries from the uncontained engine failure.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered emergency inspections of all 777s that contain the same model of Raytheon's Pratt & Whitney-made engine, while Japan and South Korea grounded all 777 flights with the Pratt engine variant.

Last night, Boeing issued a statement recommending suspension of operations for the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s that contain Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines while the FAA investigates, saying:

"Boeing is actively monitoring recent events related to United Airlines Flight 328. While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol.

Boeing supports the decision yesterday by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the FAA’s action today to suspend operations of 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney.

The plane-maker promised more updates "as information becomes available." ®


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