A United Airlines plane suffered a fiery engine failure Saturday shortly after taking off from Denver for Hawaii, dropping massive debris on a residential area before a safe emergency landing, officials said.
A video shot from inside the aircraft — which had 231 passengers and 10 crew on board — showed the right engine ablaze and wobbling on the wing of the Boeing 777-200, its cover entirely missing as the aircraft flew over a barren landscape.
There were no injuries on the plane or on the ground, authorities said.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed in a statement that the Boeing 777-200 safely returned to the Denver International Airport after “experiencing a right-engine failure shortly after takeoff.”
“The FAA is aware of reports of debris in the vicinity of the airplane’s flight path,” the statement said.
“I can honestly say I thought we were going to die at one point — because we started dropping altitude right after the explosion,” passenger David Delucia told The Denver Post.
“I grabbed my wife’s hand and said, ‘We’re done.'”
Delucia said his stepdaughter tweeted the online video, which was shot by another passenger.
“Flight UA328 from Denver to Honolulu experienced an engine failure shortly after departure, returned safely to Denver and was met by emergency crews as a precaution,” United Airlines said in a statement.
“The majority of customers originally on UA328 are currently on their way to Honolulu on a new flight,” it added, saying those who did not wish to travel immediately had been provided with hotel accommodation.
Images from the scene showed large pieces of debris lying in the front yards of homes and a soccer field at the local park. CNN affiliate KCNC shared photos showing the smashed cabin of a resident’s pickup truck. Another CNN affiliate, KMGH, shared photos of a hole in the roof of a local home.
United said it would “continue to work with federal agencies investigating this incident.”
Heather Solar was running a practice at the park for her girls’ soccer team when she said she heard an explosion, following by debris raining down.
“Honestly, what I thought it was at first… I thought we were being bombed,” Solar told The Denver Post.
“There was so much debris in the sky.”