Delta plane dumps jet fuel over US schools in emergency landing causing minor injuries to 40
Fuel dumped by an airliner making an emergency return to Los Angeles International Airport due to an engine problem has fallen onto three schools, causing minor irritation to 40 children and adults.
The incident occurred around noon (local time in the Cudahy area of southeastern Los Angeles County, about 21km east of the airport.
Fuel dumping is a process used in certain emergency situations to reduce the weight of the airplane but according to aviation rules, nearby facilities need to be warned by air traffic controllers.
Los Angeles Unified School District police sergeant Rudy Perez said 28 students and adults were affected at Park Avenue Elementary and 12 others at 93rd Street Elementary, but none needed to be taken to hospitals.
Jordan High was also affected but no one was treated there, he said.
All of the injuries at Park Avenue Elementary School in suburban Cudahy were said to be minor and none of the victims needed hospitalisation, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said on Twitter.
Firefighter and paramedics attended Park Avenue Elementary School after the jet fuel was dumped.
“It was very strong, the odour,” the 12-year-old said.
Diego wasn’t doused but some of his friends complained that their skin was itching.
“I’m very upset. This is an elementary school, these are small children,” Elizabeth Alcantar, the mayor of Cudahy, told the Los Angeles Times.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that Delta Air Lines Flight 89 headed to Shanghai, China, declared an emergency after leaving Los Angeles International Airport, returned and landed without incident.
The FAA said it was looking into the reports of schoolchildren being affected.
“The FAA is thoroughly investigating the circumstances behind this incident. There are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major US airport,” the agency said.
Delta Air Lines said in a statement that Flight 89 “experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return to LAX. The aircraft landed safely after an emergency fuel release to reduce landing weight.”
The FlightAware website’s track of the flight showed the jet took off over the ocean and made an immediate turn back towards land and circled back over Southern California to approach the airport from the east.