United Flight’s Engine Explodes in Air, Sending Debris Across Colorado Suburbs

A commercial airplane's engine burst into flame over Colorado on Saturday, sending debris raining down on the suburban town below. Miraculously, no one was hurt either on the ground or in the air, according to a report by local NBC News affiliate 9News. Photos and videos of the scene are making waves on social media.

Police in Broomfield, Colorado said that large metal chunks of airplane debris landed in at least three places around town on Saturday. These were identified as pieces of United Flight 328, which had left Denver International Airport for Honolulu, Hawaii shortly beforehand. The United Airlines flight reportedly had an engine issue and returned to the runway quickly, so everyone was safe. However, one passenger captured an image of the flaming engine outside their window.

Even more miraculously, a huge metal ring fell off the engine and landed in the front yard of a house in the Red Leaf neighborhood of Broomfield, just feet away from the front door. A degree in any direction and the debris would most likely have damaged the house, the car or other nearby property, not to mention any people who might have been inside.

The Broomfield Police shared other images of large, jagged junks of airplane debris that had landed in the area, but thankfully even further away from homes, businesses or roadways. North Metro Fire Rescue told local reporters that there were no injuries reported yet, and authorities asked anyone who found such debris not to touch it, but to report it immediately.


Aviation buffs said that the ring which landed on a suburban walkway is called a cowling ring, which encircles the jet engine itself. Sure enough, it seems to match up with a missing piece from the video taken onboard the plane. Witnesses said the sound of the debris landing was loud and jarring, and some residents even noticed the smoking plane seeming to drop debris as it passed overhead.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it received reports about the debris and the engine failure, and that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be investigating the incident. The flight itself had 231 passengers and 10 crew members onboard, all of whom landed safely.