An “uncontained engine failure” with turbine fans seemingly breaking off and destroying the protective engine cowling caused a fire that ended with the aborted take off of an American Airlines Boeing 767-300 (N345AN) at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, federal officials who earlier searched the accident site on Saturday, have since confirmed.
Lorenda Ward, senior investigator National Transportation Safety Board, echoed our earlier speculative reports of a fireball, "fire didn't breach the cabin of Flight 383, although some smoke did, the 'uncontained engine failure [UEF] ' ( UEF - this means the damage penetrated, destroyed and rendered useless the protective cowling) resulting in aviation fuel pooling directly under the plane’s right wing, which then promptly ignited and exploded" into a fireball.
About 20 people on the plane were taken to local hospitals, all had been discharged by Saturday evening.
Ms Ward said that an examination of one of the plane’s engines (CF6 Right) one of two Rolls Royce RB211-524H jet engines found a piece of the turbine (fan) had failed. Its not the first time a Rolls Royce turbine fan has shattered.
A fragment of the engine (possibly turbine blade shard) was later found in a UPS warehouse - some 2,900 feet distant - from the plane. Another piece was found about 1,600 feet away, and still on O’Hare property, she added.
The remnants of the engine part recovered so far have been sent to the NTSB lab in Washington, D.C.
The runway on which the fire occurred, Runway 28 Right 10 Left, remained closed for cleaning as of Saturday evening but was to be reopened by 7 a.m. Sunday.
|https://twitter.com/grantkmartin captured the wing of the Boeing in its melted state due to the now extinguished fireball caused by the alleged fuel leak....|
“A plane just taking off, going to Miami, was fully-loaded with 43,000 pounds of fuel, a substantial amount of fuel on the aircraft, and it was leaking,” said Chicago Fire Chief Timothy Sampey.
A fully laden American Airlines, a Boeing 767-300 (N345AN) on Flight AA 383 was destroyed on the runway 28R after a wing and right hand engine (CF6) was engulfed in a fireball during the runup to take off at Chicago O’Hare Airport on Friday.
Crew then rejected takeoff at high speed reporting "stopping on the runway", the tower acknowledged with "Fire", subsequently adding "fire from the right hand wing" the crew requested attendance of fire trucks.
Preliminary accounts suggest that all passengers, crew, a dog and a significant amount of hand luggage exited the aircraft down chute/slides, with only minor injuries, although some passengers were taken to hospital for checks and treatment.
The aircraft received substantial damage, the fuselage skin melted aft of the right hand wing, the outboard part of the right hand wing melted and is down on the ground, the inner part substantially burned.
The FAA reported the aircraft blew a tyre prompting the crew to reject takeoff.
The incident occurred at 3:45 p.m. EDT, on Friday, social media reported the large fireball seen on the runway. The Boeing 767-300 was departing for Miami International Airport, according to FlightAware.
Local media reports passenger Gary Schiavone was flying to Miami with his wife, sitting in row 31 near the back of the plane when he heard the explosion.
“First it was a clunk, after the clunk the explosion, and then the plane stopped real fast and we all started exiting.”
Julian Bray aviation experts comments: The American Airlines crew are to be commended for correctly executing the well rehearsed emergency drill and getting all passengers AND A DOG off the striken aircraft within 90 seconds target.
But you still have to question the casual manner in which some adult passengers seemingly stopped others passengers, possibly less able, evacuating in order to pick up their cabin baggage and clear overhead lockers. Then when 'safely' on the runway, instead of getting well away, paused and found time to take and tweet off reels of selfies and videos.
American Airlines Flight 383 aborted the take off due to an "engine-related mechanical issue," a press release stated.
“You hear a loud blast on the right side people start screaming there was fire and smoke coming in,” said Hector Cardenas, who was sitting in the front of the plane.
all 161 passengers, 9 crew members, and a dog, deplaned via chutes in less than two minutes.
Local sources report that within 90 seconds, fire crews were on station, laying fire retardant foam on the fireball.
“A plane just taking off, going to Miami, was fully-loaded with 43,000 pounds of fuel, a substantial amount of fuel on the aircraft, and it was leaking,” said CFD Fire Chief Timothy Sampey.
20 people were taken to local hospitals. Of those adult patients, two suffering smoke inhalation - the rest minor injuries such as ankle injuries, scrapes and bruises.
A spokesperson for American Airlines released a statement which differs in the numbers involved:
American Airlines flight 383, a 767 bound for Miami, aborted take off due to an engine-related mechanical issue. The 161 passengers and 9 crew deplaned on the runway...
All passengers onboard flight 383 have been bussed back to the terminal. Seven passengers and one flight attendant reported minor injuries and were transported to the hospital to be evaluated. We are taking care of our customers and crew and are re-accommodating our passengers on another flight to Miami this evening.Later internet images posted by https://twitter.com/grantkmartin show the MELTED American 767 wing at O'Hare Airport still on the runway, and chillingly points out Aluminium melts at over 1200F.....
++ if not, the canine should be!
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aerospace & Incident Management Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com