A United Airlines flight bound for Honolulu experienced an engine failure and had to return to Denver International Airport shortly after takeoff on Saturday afternoon. Flight 328 landed safely with no reported injuries, but footage of the in-flight fire and the engine debris which fell off the Boeing 777-200 amid the emergency illustrates what a harrowing experience it must have been for the flight’s 231 passengers and 10 crew members, as well as witnesses down below.
(Update: As aviation expert and Intelligencer contributor Jeff Wise explains in an analysis of the incident, the engine failure appears to be part of a worrisome trend — to the point that Saturday’s UA328 incident has prompted action from the FAA, United, and Japan’s transportation ministry.)
Passengers said they heard a loud bang as the aircraft’s right engine suffered a catastrophic failure. Here’s what that engine looked like through the window of the airliner as it broke apart and appeared to be on fire:
This video appears to have been shot a little later:
And here’s the moment when Flight 238 touched down in Denver, 30 minutes after takeoff — and the passengers’ reaction:
People heard the boom down on the ground northwest of Denver as well. A large piece of the engine barely missed a home in Broomfield, Colorado:
There was apparently plenty of other debris that rained down on the surrounding neighborhoods, including other large pieces of which fell on a nearby athletic field:
No injuries have been reported on the ground, either. The NTSB is investigating the incident.
This post has been updated to include additional footage and information.