Passengers on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Honolulu experienced a scare in the air.
According to photos and video from people on board, it appears the cowling, or cover, fell off one of the engines.
Passengers could be seen with their heads bent, chanting “Brace, brace, brace!”
Cheers erupted as the plane landed at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. No one was hurt.
United Airlines issued the following statement: “United flight 1175 traveling to Honolulu from San Francisco called for an emergency landing due to a mechanical issue. The flight landed safely and all passengers deplaned normally at the gate.”
The company later issued a revised statement that said: “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). Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft. The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally.”
A spokesman for the state Department of Transportation issued the following statement: “This afternoon United Airlines flight 1175 reported a mechanical issue en route to HNL. The plane landed safely with Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) personnel standing by as a precaution. The plane has been taken to the hangar. There is no impact on airport operations or runways.”
A closer look at the engine shows a missing blade in the fan.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
According to a spokesman: “United flight 1175, a Boeing 777 from San Francisco to Honolulu, declared an emergency due to a vibration in the right engine. The plane landed on Runway 8R without incident around 12:40 p.m. local time. The FAA will investigate.”
The National Transportation Safety Board says it was notified about the incident, but has yet to decide whether it will investigate.
“When something like this happens, you don’t know what kind of secondary damage happened when the cowling flies off the engine. It does make for some tense moments,” said aviation expert Peter Forman. “What the pilot is looking for is how this event will affect the range of plane, because there is more drag. You’re wondering if there’s any fuel lines that were damaged. I think that’s why they want fire trucks to come out after it lands, just to make sure it’s not dripping any fuel. Those are the kind of things pilots are looking for. Looks like the crew will handle it fine.”
Stay with KHON2.com for updates.
PHOTOS: ‘Mechanical issue’ on United Airlines flight 1175