Boeing 747 cargo plane drops engine parts in Netherlands, investigation launched

Boeing 747 cargo plane drops engine parts in Netherlands, investigation launched

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A Boeing 747-8F operated by AirBridgeCargo takes off from Leipzig-Halle Airport in Schkeuditz, Germany, Feb 2, 2021. (File photo: Jan Woitas/dpa via AP)

AMSTERDAM: An incident involving a Boeing 747-400 cargo plane that dropped engine parts shortly after take-off from Maastricht airport on Saturday (Feb 20) is under investigation, the Dutch Safety Board said.

The cargo plane, flight 5504, scattered small metal parts over the southern Dutch town of Meerssen, causing damage and injuring a woman, Maastricht Airport spokeswoman Hella Hendriks said.

"The photos indicate they were parts of engine blade, but that's being investigated," she said. "Several cars were damaged and bits hit several houses. Pieces were found across the residential neighbourhood on roofs, gardens and streets."

At least dozens of pieces fell, she said, measuring around 5cm wide and up to 25cm long.

Boeing referred questions to Dutch authorities.

"Our investigation is still in a preliminary phase, it is too early to draw conclusions," a spokeswoman for the Dutch Safety Board said on Monday.

Witnesses said they saw fire in one of the engines of the plane, which landed safely at Liege airport in Belgium, about 30km south of Maastricht.

The cargo plane, which was supposed to fly from the Netherlands to New York, used a Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engine, a smaller version of one on a United Airlines Boeing 777 involved in an incident on Saturday.

READ: Boeing calls for grounding of some 777s after Denver engine fire

Boeing said on Sunday that it was recommending airlines halt flights of some older, PW4000-powered versions of its 777 airliner pending engine inspections after a United 777 suffered an engine fire and scattered debris over Denver in the United States at the weekend.

Europe's EASA aviation regulator said on Monday that it was aware of the Pratt & Whitney jet engine incidents, and was requesting information on the cause to determine what action may be needed.

Source: Reuters/dv