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Delta Airplane Dumps Jet Fuel on Los Angeles Schools Delta Airplane Dumps Jet Fuel on Los Angeles Schools
(32 minutes later)
A plane dumped jet fuel on three schools in and around Los Angeles on Tuesday, inflicting minor injuries on 42 people, including at least 17 children, the authorities said. An airplane making an emergency landing in Los Angeles dumped jet fuel on six nearby schools on Tuesday, inflicting minor injuries to 60 adults and children, the authorities said.
Shortly after Delta Flight 89 took off from Los Angeles International Airport, the plane’s pilot declared an emergency “related to a mechanical issue on board,” said Heath Montgomery, a spokesman for the airport. The plane, a Boeing 777-200, had taken off at 11:32 a.m. and was bound for Shanghai, but it returned to the tarmac 15 minutes after takeoff, Mr. Montgomery said, adding that no one on the flight was injured. Shortly after Delta Flight 89 took off from Los Angeles International Airport, the pilot turned the plane around because of an issue with the engine, a Delta spokeswoman said. On its way back to the airport, the plane dumped fuel over a five-mile swath that included five elementary schools and a high school, including at least one school where students were playing outside on a playground, school and fire officials said.
Firefighters responded to complaints from Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy, Calif., and 93rd Street Elementary School and David Starr Jordan High School in Los Angeles. The students and staff members complained of minor skin irritation and breathing problems, but all declined transportation to hospitals.
Students and adults at the school in Cudahy, which is in southeast Los Angeles County, had complained of skin irritation and were decontaminated by emergency medical workers, said Sean Ferguson, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. He said 17 children and nine adults were treated at the elementary school. The plane, a Boeing 777-200, had taken off at 11:32 a.m. and was bound for Shanghai, but it returned to the tarmac 15 minutes after takeoff, said Heath Montgomery, a spokesman for the airport. He said no one on the flight had been injured.
An additional 16 patients were identified at other schools. Patients at all three schools declined to be transported to a hospital. Videos from local news outlets showed parents hugging their children as they were released into their care. Fatima Goumghar, 24, is used to hearing planes pass over her home in South Gate, Calif., which is just over 10 miles from the airport. But Ms. Goumghar said this plane had made a heavy sound when it flew overhead that made her worried it was in trouble.
“I know how airplanes sound, but this one sounded really bad,” Ms. Goumghar said. “It just didn’t sound right.”
She ran outside and grew more concerned when she saw white streams coming from the plane’s wings, which she now believes was the jet fuel it was dumping. When the plane’s wheels folded out from under it, she recalled hoping that the plane made it to the airport.
Ms. Goumghar recorded a video of the plane’s low path and posted it to Instagram. “I’ve had too many plane crash dreams lately to see this over my house,” she wrote in the caption.
The Federal Aviation Administration said planes were supposed to release fuel over “designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground.” The agency said it was investigating the dump.The Federal Aviation Administration said planes were supposed to release fuel over “designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground.” The agency said it was investigating the dump.
Adrian Gee, a spokeswoman for Delta, said the flight had experienced an issue with its engine and had dumped the fuel “to reach a safe landing weight.” Adrian Gee, the spokeswoman for Delta, said the flight had dropped the fuel “to reach a safe landing weight.” She said airline officials “share concerns regarding reported minor injuries to adults and children.”
Airline officials “share concerns regarding reported minor injuries to adults and children,” Ms. Gee said.
Many jetliners, especially those used on long flights, carry so much fuel when fully loaded that they take off weighing more than their maximum safe landing weight. Ordinarily, they consume enough fuel along the way to be well below the maximum threshold by the time they land. However, if a flight is cut short soon after takeoff, the plane may still be significantly overweight.Many jetliners, especially those used on long flights, carry so much fuel when fully loaded that they take off weighing more than their maximum safe landing weight. Ordinarily, they consume enough fuel along the way to be well below the maximum threshold by the time they land. However, if a flight is cut short soon after takeoff, the plane may still be significantly overweight.
In that situation, pilots have three choices. They can circle for a while to burn off fuel, but in an emergency there may not be time. They can land overweight, which risks damaging the aircraft. Or they can jettison fuel in flight, generally by spraying it out through nozzles on the plane’s wings, if the plane is equipped.In that situation, pilots have three choices. They can circle for a while to burn off fuel, but in an emergency there may not be time. They can land overweight, which risks damaging the aircraft. Or they can jettison fuel in flight, generally by spraying it out through nozzles on the plane’s wings, if the plane is equipped.
The jettisoned jet fuel, which is similar to kerosene, will vaporize as it falls through the air. Boeing, a leading aircraft manufacturer, estimates that if fuel is dumped at an altitude of 5,000 to 6,000 feet or higher, it should all have turned to vapor before reaching the ground. Federal regulations allow dumps at lower altitudes: Air traffic controllers are instructed to assign planes dumping fuel to an altitude at least 2,000 feet higher than anything on the ground within five miles.The jettisoned jet fuel, which is similar to kerosene, will vaporize as it falls through the air. Boeing, a leading aircraft manufacturer, estimates that if fuel is dumped at an altitude of 5,000 to 6,000 feet or higher, it should all have turned to vapor before reaching the ground. Federal regulations allow dumps at lower altitudes: Air traffic controllers are instructed to assign planes dumping fuel to an altitude at least 2,000 feet higher than anything on the ground within five miles.
Mr. Ferguson said that despite the frequent sight and sound of planes approaching the Los Angeles airport for landing, he could not recall another instance in which a plane dumped fuel on civilians in the last decade. Sean Ferguson, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said that despite the frequent sight and sound of planes approaching the Los Angeles airport for landing, he could not recall another instance in which a plane dumped fuel on civilians in the last decade.
Videos from local news outlets showed parents hugging their children as they were released into their care.
In Los Angeles County, emergency medical workers treated 31 patients, including 20 children, at Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy, Calif.; six patients at Tweedy Elementary School in South Gate; six patients at San Gabriel Avenue Elementary School in South Gate; and one patient at Graham Elementary in Florence-Graham. In the City of Los Angeles, medical workers treated 16 people at 93rd Street Elementary School and David Starr Jordan Senior High, fire officials said.