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Delta Air Lines Inc. jet returning to Los Angeles after an engine problem dumped fuel over two elementary school playgrounds, causing skin irritations and breathing problems for 17 children and nine adults.
The injuries were minor and none of the victims were taken to hospitals, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said in a tweet Tuesday. Students and adults “may have been sprayed by fuel or inhaled fumes,” the Los Angeles Unified School District said in a statement that confirmed the health effects.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it was “thoroughly investigating” the incident.
“There are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major U.S. airport,” the agency said in a statement. “These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground.”
UPDATE*** Patient count updated to 17 children, 9 adults. All minor injuries w/ no transports to local hospital from school. There are no evacuation orders for the immediate area. Substance was confirmed JET FUEL.— L.A. County Fire Department (@LACoFDPIO) January 14, 2020
Refer to school regarding plans for child pick-up. #LACoFD
Delta Flight 89, a Boeing Co. 777-200ER, left Los Angeles International shortly after 11 a.m. local time en route to Shanghai. It experienced an engine problem shortly after takeoff that required it to return to the airport, Delta said in a statement.
“The aircraft landed safely after an emergency fuel release to reduce landing weight,” the airline said, without providing further details.
#DL89 returned to LAX shortly after takeoff due to an engine issue. The aircraft jettisoned fuel to reduce landing weight. LA County Fire Dept reporting multiple patients being evaluated after some of that jettisoned fuel landed on a school playground. https://t.co/6rgrvUYPlV https://t.co/DqDQRzxQGv— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 14, 2020
The jet climbed to 7,775 feet before it began to descend after less than three minutes in flight, according to Flightradar24, an aircraft tracking service. The entire flight lasted 24 minutes, Flightradar24 data showed.
The school district said students and staff at Park Avenue Elementary and 93rd Street Elementary schools were affected.
--With assistance from Justin Bachman.