CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) – A South Florida man and other passengers on board the Hawaii-bound flight from Denver that was forced to turn back shortly after takeoff, causing debris to fall on a suburban neighborhood, are reacting to the frightening close call.
Jeffrey Whichard and his wife had a vacation from Coral Springs planned.
“We got to about 10,000 feet, and then we heard a loud explosion, very loud explostion” he said, “and the plane started shuddering, shuddering and shaking, and did that all the way back to when we got back to Denver, and we landed on the runway.”
Another passenger acknowledged the flight to Honolulu from the Denver International Airport could have come to a tragic end after the Boeing 777-200 lost an engine mid-flight, Saturday afternoon.
“Initially, I think it was fairly panicked, but I think people did a good job of calming down,” he said.
Passenger Bob Brown, who was with his wife, took out his smartphone and recorded video as he looked out the window at the right engine of the aircraft.
“We looked at each other, my wife and I, held hands and just wished our kids we’d see them again,” he said.
That horrifying sight was followed by another one: plane parts coming off the Boeing.
Surveillance video in Broomfield, Colorado, recorded the pieces falling to the ground.
“It could have been a whole lot worse than it was, so yeah, we’re really thankful nobody got injured or hurt,” said Broomfield resident Kirby Klements.
The pilot got United Flight 328 safely back on the ground in Denver.
Whichard estimates it was between 10 to 15 minutes from the blown engine to landing.
“I’ve flown all over the world. First time that’s happened,” he said.
On Sunday, United Airlines officials announced they are removing all of their Boeing 777 planes currently in service that are powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines “out of an abundance of caution.”
Japan is requesting than no airlines fly any Boeing 777 planes with a Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engine until further notice.
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