Passenger files lawsuit against United Airlines after engine failure, emergency landing


DENVER (NewsNation Now) — An United Airlines passenger filed a class-action lawsuit Sunday against the company after the flight he was on experienced engine failure and scattered debris across Denver-area neighborhoods.

The engine failure occurred four minutes after the Boeing 777 took off, bound for Hawaii last month. The engine exploded, causing a fire in mid-air and forcing an emergency landing back at Denver International Airport.

Debris from the engine rained down on nearby suburban neighborhoods. Federal safety officials said the pilots had just increased power to the two engines when a loud bang was captured on the cockpit voice recorder.

The United pilots declared an emergency and returned to the airport with one working engine and landed safely. No injuries were reported on the plane or on the ground.

The suit states the “plaintiff therefore seeks to recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress on behalf of himself and all other passengers on board who are similarly situated.”

According to the filing, United failed to properly inspect and maintain its aircraft which resulted in engine failure.

“No one should have to live through that as a result of an airline’s refusal to take proper care of its planes and its customers, and I look forward to forcing United to make it right as best is possible,” Jonathon Corbett, attorney representing passenger Chad Schnell said.

You can read the full lawsuit below:

This comes as federal safety investigators ruled Friday that microscopic examination supports early suspicions that wear and tear caused a fan blade to snap inside one engine of the plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the blade found “multiple fatigue fracture origins” on the inside surface of the hollow fan blade. The board said “multiple” secondary cracks were found, and that the examination is continuing.

The broken blade on the Pratt & Whitney engine had been used on 2,979 flights since its last inspection in 2016, the NTSB said. At the time, similar blades were required to be inspected every 6,500 flights. The NTSB believes the failed blade then sheared off part of an adjacent fan blade.

After the Feb. 20 incident, Pratt & Whitney called for inspections every 1,000 flights, followed by a Federal Aviation Administration order that they be inspected for cracks before their next flight.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate KDVR contributed to this report.

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