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16 June, 2024
 
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United Airlines loses tire, damages cars below

Boeing 777 Safely Diverts to Los Angeles After Tire Detaches; Investigation Launched.

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A United Airlines flight faced a dramatic emergency landing on Thursday after one of its tires fell off midflight, causing damage to several cars in a San Francisco parking lot. The Boeing 777, en route to Japan with 235 passengers and 14 crew members, took off from San Francisco International Airport at approximately 11:24 am local time.

Video footage captured the unsettling moment when one of the plane's six wheels detached during takeoff. The aircraft was promptly redirected to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where it landed safely with fire engines on standby. The plane came to a stop two-thirds down the runway and was later towed away, according to LAX officials.

Fortunately, there were no injuries reported among the passengers or crew, confirmed airport spokesman Doug Yakel. However, it was later discovered that the loose tire had fallen onto an employee parking lot at San Francisco International Airport, damaging several unoccupied cars.

AP Photo

Images from the scene depicted the aftermath, with cars showing signs of significant impact, including a silver Toyota Corolla with smashed side and back window panes. An investigation into the incident has been initiated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), stated FAA spokesperson Tony Molinaro.

United Airlines expressed gratitude for the professionalism of its pilots and flight attendants, promising to collaborate with affected vehicle owners. The airline stated, "We're also grateful to our teams on the ground who were waiting with a tug to move the aircraft soon after it landed and to our teams in the airport who assisted customers upon their arrival. We will work with customers as well as with the owners of the damaged vehicles in SFO to ensure their needs are addressed."

Although the runway was briefly closed for debris clearance after passengers were evacuated, Los Angeles airport spokesperson Doug Yakel assured that there was no further impact on airport operations. Aviation experts noted that such incidents of plane tires coming loose are extremely rare and not indicative of broader safety concerns, emphasizing the importance of maintenance over manufacturing issues. This event follows a similar incident in January involving a Boeing 757 that lost its nose wheel while taxiing on a runway in Atlanta, prompting an FAA investigation.

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