By now you’ve probably heard about the United Airlines plane that suffered an engine failure over Broomfield, Colo., yesterday afternoon and dropped debris on the city.
Not long after that first report, I found a map of the plane’s flight path out of and back to Denver International Airport. It seems it passed almost directly over my house in north Thornton (at best one block north of me) as it headed west. It was only about a minute later that its right engine failed and started dropping debris over Broomfield, including the Broomfield Commons open space, 7 miles due west of here. Two or three years ago my grandson would have been playing soccer there.
Amazingly, there was not a single injury either on the plane or on the ground. The pilots remained calm (don’t they always?), radioed a mayday, and returned to the airport on their one remaining engine.
A bit unnerving, to say the least. I noticed air traffic when I first moved here about 12 years ago, but in recent years only low-flying helicopters have been obvious. Planes westbound from DIA have to climb fast due to noise abatement rules and because they have to get over the Rocky Mountains.
A New York Times story at one point said Broomfield was a Boulder suburb, but obviously that isn’t accurate. They are separate cities, as is seen on this map. I see the story has since been corrected (because I sent a note to the author?), but not the caption on the accompanying video. (I tend to get annoyed when a news source gets its geography wrong when all they had to do was look at a map.)
But all’s well that ends well. The flight was bound for Honolulu, and an engine failure over the ocean might have ended differently. On the ground, one house suffered a punctured roof, and the engine’s front cowling smashed into a man’s truck before stopping within a few feet of his front door. Does auto and home insurance cover stuff falling from the sky?
See follow-up stories at the Denver Post website.