Pieces from a US plane rained down onto Denver suburbs on Saturday, narrowly missing one home, after one of its engines suffered a failure.
The United Airlines plane safely made an emergency landing and nobody aboard or on the ground was reported hurt, authorities said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the Boeing 777-200 returned to the Denver International Airport after experiencing a right-engine failure shortly after takeoff.
Flight 328 was flying from Denver to Honolulu when the incident occurred, the agency added.
United Airlines said in a statement that there were 231 passengers and 10 crew on board. All passengers were to be rebooked on a new flight to Hawaii, the airline said.
The Broomfield Police Department posted photos on Twitter showing large, circular pieces of debris leaning against a house in the suburb, which is located around 40km north of Denver. Police are asking that anyone who was injured to come forward.
Passengers recounted the events that led to the parts falling from the plane, which began to unfold shortly after the plane full of holidaymakers took off.
The aircraft was almost at cruising altitude and the captain was giving an announcement over the intercom when a large explosion rocked the cabin, accompanied by a bright flash.
“The plane started shaking violently, and we lost altitude and we started going down,” said David Delucia, who was sitting directly across the aisle from the side with the failed engine. “When it initially happened, I thought we were done. I thought we were going down.”
Delucia and his wife took their wallets containing their driver’s licenses and put them in their pockets so that “in case we did go down, we could be IDed,” said Delucia, who was still shaken up as he waited to board another flight for Honolulu.
On the ground, witnesses also heard the explosion and were scared for those on board.
Tyler Thal, who lives in the area, told The Associated Press that he was out for a walk with his family when he noticed a large commercial plane flying unusually low and took out his phone to film it.
“While I was looking at it, I saw an explosion and then the cloud of smoke and some debris falling from it. It was just like a speck in the sky, and as I’m watching that, I’m telling my family what I just saw and then we heard the explosion,” he said in a phone interview. “The plane just kind of continued on, and we didn’t see it after that.”
Thal was relieved to learn no one was injured or killed from what he saw.
Video posted on social media showed a trail of smoke behind the plane as it flew through the air.
Kirby Klements was inside his home with his wife when they heard a huge booming sound, he said. A few seconds later, the couple saw a massive piece of debris fly past their window and into Klements’ truck, crushing the cab and pushing the vehicle into the dirt.
“If it had been 10 feet different, it would have landed right on top of the house,” he said in a phone interview with the AP. “And if anyone had been in the truck, they would have been dead.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.