A United Airlines plane had to make an emergency landing Friday night when a shower of sparks burst out and debris fell to the ground shortly after taking off from Newark Airport.
The Boeing 777-200ER, which took off from Newark headed for Sao Paulo, Brazil, at 11.24pm, had to enter a holding pattern at 24,000 feet over the Atlantic after experiencing what is considered to be a hydraulic pressure pump failure.
Approximately an hour and a half later, after spilling fuel over the ocean to reduce weight, the aircraft made a safe emergency landing back at Newark Airport.
The horrific moment was apparently caught on video by a nearby plane spotter, who captured the shower of sparks coming from the landing gear compartment of the Boeing 777.
He also took a photograph of a piece of rectangular, rusty-looking piece of debris that fell to the ground.
The Federal Aviation Administration stated that the plane landed safely after the crew reported an emergency and that an investigation is under way.
There were no reports of any losses or injuries among the crew and passengers.
Video of what was presumed to be a United Airlines Boeing 777 spilling debris and showers of sparks was taken last night after it took off from Newark
A photo of the debris that fell from the plane was captured by a nearby plane spotter. The Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged they are investigating the incident
The incident is not the first involving United Airlines’ fleet of increasingly ageing Boeing 777s, which are some of the oldest planes of their kind in the world.
In February 2021, a United Airlines Boeing 777 had an uncontained engine failure after travelling from Denver to Honolulu.
A huge blast was heard just four minutes after take off and chunks of the engine began to descend to the ground over Broomfield, CO.
Jet engine components were spread across the entire area, with the entire engine inlet lip ending up in one piece in a resident’s front yard. No one was wounded in the incident.
From the ground, plane spotter Hayden Smith captured the spectacular moment on camera.
23 minutes after takeoff, and 19 minutes after the engine exploded, all 241 passengers and crew members were able to land safely.
This is not the first incident involving United Airlines’ fleet of rapidly aging Boeing 777s (pictured), which are among the world’s oldest aircraft of this type.
Later, the airline issued a statement declaring that 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines will be grounded “out of an excess of caution.”
The FAA then announced that all Boeing 777s with Pratt & Whitney PW4070 engines would be grounded until further notice.
During this period, an exhaustive investigation into the engine failure was conducted.
United Airlines stated they were working closely with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board to “identify any additional procedures required to guarantee [their] aircraft meet [their] stringent safety requirements and can return to operation.”
The FAA issued a rule mandating that the maintenance inspection of Boeing 777s be conducted with additional care.
Specifically, the FAA attributes the incident to the ‘hollow fan blades that are peculiar to this engine model’