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A Boeing airliner engine exploded over Denver, and here’s the video

Published Feb 22nd, 2021 1:08PM EST
boeing engine failure
Image: motive56/Adobe

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  • A Boeing 777 airliner experienced a serious engine malfunction shortly after takeoff from a Colorado airport, and it caused problems for those on board as well as on the ground.
  • The plane’s right engine “exploded,” according to reports, and videos of the engine after the incident show the engine without its shroud and shaking as flames belch out the sides.
  • The plane was able to land safely back at its departing airports, but residents on the ground had to dodge large chunks of debris.

If you’re onboard a passenger airline the one thing you never want to see is one of the engines malfunction, especially if that malfunction leads to an explosion. If you’re on the ground, the same notion applies, as an exploding plane engine probably means a lot of potentially harmful debris is going to be falling down from the sky. Unfortunately for passengers aboard United Airlines flight 328 and their counterparts on the ground below, one of the engines of the Boeing 777 did just that.

The plane was ultimately able to make a quick abort of its journey and head back to the colorado airport it had just taken off from, but video from passengers and photos of large pieces of engine debris in the yards of Denver residents is pretty unsettling. Today, the airline took steps to prevent flights from using aircraft with the same engines.

As is always the case when something as serious as this happens, investigators are currently working through the details and trying to figure out exactly what happened. In the meantime, United Airlines has announced that it is grounding all Boeing 777 airliners equipped with the same Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines that were on the plane that experienced the malfunction.


“Starting immediately and out of an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily and temporarily removing 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines from our schedule,” the company announced in a statement. “Since yesterday, we’ve been in touch with regulators at the NTSB and FAA and will continue to work closely with them to determine any additional steps that are needed to ensure these aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards and can return to service. As we swap out aircraft, we expect only a small number of customers to be inconvenienced.”

Boeing, which is the same company that built the doomed 737 Max aircraft which crashed twice and claimed over 500 lives, is yet again in the crosshairs of investigators. It’ll be interesting to see if other airlines follow suit and ground more Boeing jets or other planes equipped with the type of engine that failed.

The good news is that nobody was hurt and that the plane was able to land safely after the engine blew its top. That being said, it might be a little while before these planes get back into the sky, as safety investigations typically take some time to complete.