Airline companies in both the US and Japan grounded several Boeing 777 planes after United Airlines Flight 328 experienced a dramatic engine failure over Denver, Colorado during the weekend. Boeing, a US airplane manufacturer, recommended the grounding of dozens of its 777 airplanes all over the globe after the scary incident.
A report published by The Verge stated that the pilots of the ill-fated plane, which was bound for Honolulu, were able to steer the aircraft back to safety at the Denver airport with all of its 231 passengers. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries among the passengers and crew.
As a result, United Airlines and two major carriers in Japan grounded all of their 62 Boeing 777 planes while Korean Air stated it would ground six of their aircraft. The US airline company said it is voluntarily grounding its 24 Boeing 777 planes with 4000-series Pratt & Whitney engines. The airline company said they expect the move to inconvenience only a small number of their customers. In Japan, the country's Civil Aviation Bureau directed All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines to remove similar planes with the same engines from service. A Reuters report revealed that JAL has 14 Boeing 777 with 4000-series Pratt & Whitney engines while ANA has 19.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), for its part, issued an emergency airworthiness directive, mandating the immediate inspection of Boeing 777 aircraft with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. The federal agency said this might result in the removal of the aircraft from service. A report from The Wall Street Journal revealed that there is a need to ground some 128 Boeing aircraft with Pratt & Whitney engines similar to that of Flight 328.
Aviation International News reported that an initial report of an ongoing investigation conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed that two fan blades on the number 2 engine of the plane appear to have developed some fractures. According to the NTSB, the failure occurred in the right engine of the plane. Inspectors said two fan blades fractured and it affected the other blades. The main fuselage suffered minor damage.
In an Associated Press report, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said they are now reviewing all available safety data after the Denver incident. "Based on the initial information, we concluded there is a need to step up the inspection interval for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes," Dickson said. The administrator also said that they have asked for a meeting with Boeing and Pratt & Whitney representatives.
One of the plane's passengers, David Delucia said he heard a loud "explosion" moments after the take-off. "The plane started shaking violently, and we lost altitude and we started going down," Delucia said. He also recalled telling his wife to place their wallets inside their pockets so authorities could identify them in case the plane crashed.
Police personnel in Broomfield town posted images of what looked like an engine casing in the front garden of a home. Images of other fragments found in other sections of the town, including one on a football field, also appeared online. There were no reported injuries caused by the falling debris.