An investigation is underway after a plane mistakenly dumped jet fuel onto playgrounds and school yards in California.
What We Know:
- Less than 20 minutes after takeoff, Delta Flight 89 malfunctioned and decided to return to the Los Angeles International Airport. During the emergency landing, the aircraft dropped fuel at 2,000 feet.
- According to a recording of the radio communications, air traffic control asked the crew if they wanted to return to LAX immediately or linger over the ocean “to hold and burn fuel”. The pilot reassured air traffic that they were not “critical,” and in response air traffic replied “OK, so you don’t need to hold or dump fuel or anything like that?” the controller asked. “Ah, negative,” the pilot responded.
- But the plane did later dump fuel as it circled back across Los Angeles to approach the airport. The fuel sprayed out in two streams and fell in the city of Cudahy and nearby parts of Los Angeles County, about 13 miles east of the airport.
- The incident that could have turned tragic occurred a short while after noon on Tuesday, advised inspector Sean Ferguson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
- The most affected school was Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy, which lies roughly 19 miles east of the airport. The fuel was described by fire officials as a vapor that caused minor skin and lung irritation to 56 children and adults. Fortunately, nobody was taken to the hospital and the only decontamination required was soap and water.
All of the schools were cleaned overnight and normal operations resumed on Wednesday.