United issued a statement acknowledging the problem, but not really explaining how or why it occurred:
“United flight 1175 traveling to Honolulu from San Francisco landed safely after the pilots called for an emergency landing because of a loss of the engine cowling (the covering of the engine),” United said in a statement. “Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft. The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally.”
The Boeing 777-222 in question is an older plane, making its initial journeys as far back as 1994, The Points Guy reports.
United, which faced a torrent of backlash after the forcible removal of a passenger on one of its flights last year, is cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board as they investigate the incident.