A sobering incident occurred today when a United Airlines 777-200 traveling to Hawaii experienced a catastrophic engine failure today shortly after takeoff. The pictures and video border on terrifying.
United Airlines 777-200 Suffers Catastrophic Engine Failure After Takeoff
UA328, a Boeing 777-200, took off from Denver (DEN) bound for Honolulu (HNL) this morning at 12:49pm. 231 passengers and 10 crew members were onboard. Shortly after takeoff, as the aircraft approached 13,000 feet, the right engine suffered an explosion.
Check out these pictures and video:
Incredible photos by Hayden Smith of UA328 suffering an engine failure shortly after departing Denver #UA328 #Denver #UAL328 pic.twitter.com/JF89Q8lPua
— Tamas K-L (@tamaskls) February 20, 2021
Flight 328 @united engine caught fire. my parents are on this flight 🙃🙃 everyone’s okay though! pic.twitter.com/cBt82nIkqb
— michaela🦋 (@michaelagiulia) February 20, 2021
Large pieces of the right engine fell from the sky, barely missing homes in a suburb outside of Denver. Neighbors reported hearing a loud boom like an explosion before seeing debris rain from the sky.
JUST IN: Denver International Airport officials tell us United Airlines Flight 328 bound for Honolulu returned to the airport after an engine problem. Neighbors heard a loud boom, took these photos of what look like Boeing 777 engine nacelle in their yards. pic.twitter.com/mklpz3VG4F
— Pete Muntean (@petemuntean) February 20, 2021
Listen to the Air Traffic Control audio, in which the flight crew stoically but professionally declare a mayday:
The aircraft returned to Denver International and passengers erupted into applause as the aircraft safely landed.
This is the moment United flight 328 landed in DIA
You can see damage to right engine.
Video: Troy Lewis #9news pic.twitter.com/wyYqlEEJgZ
— Chris Vanderveen (@chrisvanderveen) February 20, 2021
United provided the follow statement on the incident:
Flight 328 from DEN (Denver) to HNL (Honolulu) experienced an engine failure shortly after departure, returned safely to Denver and was met by emergency crews as a precaution. There are no reported injuries onboard and we will share more information as it becomes available.
We are in contact with the FAA, NTSB and local law enforcement. All passengers and crew have deplaned and been transported back to the terminal in DEN. We are now working to get our customers on a new flight to Honolulu in the next few hours.
It appears United found a spare 777-200 and the flight will depart again in a couple hours:
Even though engines failures are not unheard of, this was a scary incident and represented a catastrophic engine failure. My sincere congratulations to the pilots for safely landing the aircraft. No injures were reported onboard. The aircraft, N772UA, was only the fifth 777 ever produced and has been in the United fleet since 1995. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will now investigate.
Were you onboard UA328 today? Please tell us about your experience below.
At least some passengers now must be beyond the 72 hour pcr test 2indow required by hawaii due to the delay
Rapid antigen tests are available in Denver (Concourse B). There’s still time even now for a fresh test before UA328 takes off again (assuming Hawaii accepts XpresCheck).
Unfortunately for the passengers Hawaii requires a PCR test.
For some this was probably their first flight in a year because of Covid. I can imagine a few of them went home and said, “The hell with this, I am going back to sheltering in place.”
@Greg, even though it says 72hrs on the states website, they actually accept any test taken within the previous 3 days. So if a customer had a valid test this morning it would still be good this evening. In addition, the state has extended a waiver to 96hrs / 4 days now through Sunday due to weather across the country which has slowed test results (hawaiicovid19.com)
I am saddened to see so many passengers on this flight. Travel is not a good idea. This mindset spreads Covid-19 but even if the passengers did not travel, they would probably be doing risky behavior in Denver or their hometowns.
Saddened? Really derek? The majority of these passengers all had negative covid tests and aircraft in general are about as safe as safe can be right now. Take your fake outrage to the grocery store where you have a much greater chance of catching something.
Derek – you stay under your bed and be safe. Others are going to live.
It’s not just a bunch of random people in close proximity, most likely everyone on board (including staff if they intend to overnight in HI) all took and passed Covid-19 tests generally a max of 48 hours prior. That’s not a strict rule, as someone COULD just go to Hawaii and if they have the means could quarantine for 2 weeks and no take a test. But probably 99% of everyone going to Hawaii aren’t going to do that. This is safer than just not filling middle seats, in my humble opinion.
Derek….lol…go hide under the rock
I’m an airline pilot and I’m with you Derek. It’s a bittersweet feeling to see a full-ish flight these days, it’s good for my company, but bad for the rest of us. We need to still be in stay home mode, as hard as that may be to do. Those that don’t see that are unfortunately a bit myopic.
We echo what everyone else are saying Derek. Stay under your rock and be safe. We are vaccinated and ready to fly. We are going to Italy in May, on United, and can’t wait. Please open the friendly skies.
What’s the fuss? They still have half of the engines left.
Looks to be cancelled now.
Another suit and another bail out for Boeing…..
This isn’t Boeing’s fault. If Boeing were to deserve getting sued for this lawsuit, then Airbus deserves to get sued for AF66.
Like Airbus airplanes have had any incidents before…
The passengers and crew on this flight were very lucky that the flight just left Denver. If the engine exploded while it was in the middle of the ocean, I don’t know if the captain could make it to HNL or back to SFO with one engine left. God Bless USA and our citizens.
Yes, they could have. It’s called ETOPS. Look it up.
Thank you Nic.
ETOPs assumes an engine has failed, not that it is busted and hanging from the wing. That is a whole different ballgame with an outcome that is not guaranteed under ETOPs planning. The extra drag from an exploded engine can be extremely dangerous and could prevent reaching normal ETOPs emergency landing fields.
Yes, but they could also make a soft landing in the ocean and wait for help there. Everyone would have life jackets and there are rafts on board as well.
Landing on the water fails 9 out of 10 attempts (not every captain is Sully). Also, you know there are sharks in the Pacific?
This is the fear as aviation activity resumes: aircraft inadequately serviced, rusty pilots, deferred maintenance. Of course those fears might not be relevant to this case, but there’ll be some anxiety after not flying for close to 12 months (…at least there will be for me and certainly more so after incidents such as this…)
Lucky passengers and crew, indeed. United’s high density configuration flights to Hawaii would not be my first choice—there’s at least one option for a Polaris 772 now.
More than likely on take off –the super sized 777 engine sucked in something to either 1. block the air flow throughput with the compression chamber over pressurising to cause an internal explosion, or 2. The runway debris caused the fan to be damaged and it broke into pieces. Runways sometimes have exploded pieces of steel cored and belted landing tires. This is what happened to the supersonic Concorde engine failure and fatal crash.
T, thankfully that’s not how it works. Airplanes that cross an ocean are certified for extended single engine operation. There are extra requirements for backup systems on the airplane and also extra training for flight crews. While not ideal for anyone, an airplane with an engine failure can easily fly for hours on one engine.
Thank you Erica. It is hoped that the captains, first officers, and crews are also trained in case both engines fail. Thinking about it is scary sometimes, but I still enjoy flying. Every time I have a boarding pass, I am still excited to go through TSA 🙂
Guessing the plane came off the assemblyline in SC
On further review on the photo of the large round NACELLE that landed intact on the ground shows the forward rim has projectile bullet damage . The Nacelle is a very high strength front of the engine pod to contain fan blade failure. This was pentitrated by a FOB Foreign Object Damage from something other than the forward fan blade because a passenger video shows the blades are in fact wholly intact. So landing tire FOD is further supported. With rubber and steel pieces going into the high pressure compressor turbine causing a disk failure to would explain the mid engine explosion point seen in other photos.
Engine out is part of training for crew and they did an excellent job bring the aircrafts back to airport safe.
That’s is why FAA mandate the yearly training under FAR 121.
This is one of the best crew and they did a wonderful job to safe life.
No matter how new or old the airplane is these thinks happen and crew need to be ready.
I am proud of United airline and his training
I try to join then 20 years ago but I did not get hired.
But it does not matter by far all American pilots are the best train pilot in the word!!!
@Rod: Me too 🙂 I applied for a position in finance/accounting at UA (EWR) few years ago and never got a call. I guess I did not have a good connection at UA and Scott Kirby is not reading this blog (too bad for us). My dream is fading… Now, let’s get back to the topic before others get mad 🙂
My understanding of United B777 is equipped with PW6000. If, this is the same engine identical problem with a flight to Honolulu on Feb 16, 2018. Moreover, Japan Airlines B777-200 had an engine problem soon after takeoff from Naha, Okinawa. The aircraft originally purchased by JAS, Japan Air System in 1997. It is equipped with PW6000. It appears to be there are similarities to an engine problem. How long these aircraft was parked due to COVID before they throw into the service. How often did they start to run the engine while parked?
Further to my comment, since the aircraft was parked a long time on the ground because of Covid, It may have something to do with the lube oil sump. The viscosity of lube oil may be caused by worn bearing, even though those planes id flying previous, but never changed the lube oil.
I haven’t seen anything about the plane dumping fuel before the emergency landing. Shouldn’t that have been SOP? Or where they so desperate to put the bird down quickly they decided to risk the added weight?
Glad this was not Malaysian, Ethiopian, Pakistani, or another ethnic-type carrier with lack of adequate training. Would definitely have ended in tragedy (and been blamed of course on Boeing).
A friend of mine used to have a second job driving air crews around, between airports and hotels. He overheard a conversation one time:
First pilot – I only have two engines to worry about. You have four.
Second pilot – Well, even if I lose one, I still have one more than you started out with.