A Norwegian Air Boeing 787-8’s engine failure over Rome caused hundreds of metal fragments to rain down on vehicles, homes and people below, forcing the plane to turn around and make an emergency landing.
One person, 25 vehicles and 12 houses were struck by fragments falling from the Dreamliner flight DY-7115 from Rome to Los Angeles. Pilots declared an emergency when it suffered single-engine failure at 3,000 feet shortly after takeoff on Saturday, and returned to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport 23 minutes after departure with 310 passengers and crew on board. There were no reported injuries.
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However, eyewitness reports of hundreds of pieces of hot debris raining down on the area surrounding the airport soon emerged. Images of smashed windscreens, damaged roofs and other objects in people’s gardens were shared online. One person received mild burns from the falling pieces, according to Italian media.
Passengers on board the flight told La Repubblica that “worrying noises” came from the engine 10 minutes after takeoff and, upon landing, the plane’s tires were also burst.
The incident could have had potentially disastrous and fatal consequences if the plane had continued for “a few more moments,” when it would have reached the center of town “or the crowded beaches of the Roman coast,” reported Corriere Della Sela.
Passengers criticized the low-budget Oslo-based airline for failing to provide information following the incident, and for leaving hundreds “abandoned” at the Rome airport without their luggage.
Italy’s aviation safety agency (ANSV) has launched an investigation into the five-year-old Boeing 787-8 plane and it’s Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine, to determine what caused such a dangerous malfunction.