A United Airlines flight bound from San Francisco to Honolulu on Tuesday faced the horrifying dilemma of making an emergency landing after one of its engine covers fell off while it cruised over the Pacific Ocean.
As The Washington Post reports, 363 passengers onboard the Boeing 777-222 airliner heard a loud boom as the engine casing tore off from the plane, leaving the bare mechanism shaking in the ether. The incident occurred about 40 minutes from the fight's destination at Honolulu Airport, and passengers sitting close to the withered engine say the remnants disappeared as they plummeted into the ocean below.
Footage of the broken engine, put in plain terms, is simply terrifying. Google engineer Eric Haddad captured the sight and tweeted it, somehow managing to crack a pun in the process:
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He kept his grim sense of humor as the plane traversed the uncertain skies, tweeting another macabre joke:
Flight attendants prepared the passengers, telling them to put on their seat belts and prepare for a bumpy ride. The pilots made preparations for an emergency landing at Honolulu Airport, signaling the need to clear runways for the distressed plane. To the palpable relief of everyone on the flight, the plane landed safely and was quickly attended to on the runway by aircraft rescue teams and fire crews.
One passenger called the experience the “scariest flight of my life.”
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.
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