United flight sheds debris over Colorado after engine failure

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane, a Boeing 777-200, experienced “a right-engine failure” shortly after takeoff and that the FAA was aware of reports of debris “in the vicinity of the airplane’s flight path.”

A North Metro firefighter walks past a large piece of an airplane engine in the front yard of a home on Elmwood Street near E. 13th Avenue, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Broomfield, Colo.
A North Metro firefighter walks past a large piece of an airplane engine in the front yard of a home on Elmwood Street near E. 13th Avenue, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Broomfield, Colo. –(Andy Cross/The Denver Post via AP)

A United Airlines flight with 241 people on board experienced engine failure over a suburb of Boulder, Colorado, Saturday afternoon, shedding debris across three neighborhoods before landing safely in Denver, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

The flight, No. 328, took off from Denver International Airport at 12:15 p.m. local time, said Alex Renteria, an airport spokesperson.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane, a Boeing 777-200, experienced “a right-engine failure” shortly after takeoff and that the FAA was aware of reports of debris “in the vicinity of the airplane’s flight path.”

The flight was headed from Denver to Honolulu when the episode occurred.

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David Gonzalez, a press representative from United, said the flight had 231 passengers and 10 crew members on board. As a precaution, the flight was met by emergency responders when it returned to Denver.

Police in Broomfield, Colorado, about 15 miles southeast of Boulder, said unspecified pieces of the plane fell across three neighborhoods around 1:08 p.m.

A video on Twitter showed an engine that was on fire and was missing parts of its casing.

Rebecca Schulte, a resident, said she saw two pieces that fell just a few houses away from her home. She described hearing a “mild sound” that she compared to an empty dump truck going over a pothole and then she heard sirens.

When she investigated further, she said, she found a “large metal ring” that had landed on the front steps of a nearby home, striking the handrail. “How it missed the house is beyond me,” she said. She said the metal ring was about 10 feet in diameter.

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