Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said "there are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major US airport."

By Ian Horswill


Posted on January 15, 2020

A Delta Airlines flight, which had to turn back to Los Angeles International Airport, has dumped fuel over children and adults in a school playground before making an emergency landing.

Delta Airlines Flight 89, a Boeing 777 aircraft, had taken off from LAX with 149 passengers on board and was bound for Shanghai when it turned around and headed back to the Los Angeles airport.

“Shortly after takeoff, Flight 89 from LAX to Shanghai experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return to LAX,” Delta Airlines spokesperson Adrian Gee said. “The aircraft landed safely after an emergency fuel release to reduce landing weight.”

At least 17 children and nine adults are being treated for skin irritation and breathing problems after the fuel release.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department said more than 70 firefighters and paramedics were at the school, and 20 children and 11 adults were treated for minor injuries. No one was transported to hospital. Additionally, six people at Tweedy Elementary School and six others at San Gabriel Elementary in South Gate were affected, as was one adult patient at Graham Elementary School.

Los Angeles City Fire’s spokesman Nicholas Prange said two classes were outside when the fuel rained down shortly before noon (local time). Students and staff were instructed to go indoors and remain there for the time being.

Two school classes were outside at the time the fuel was released, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I’m very upset. This is an elementary school, these are small children,” Elizabeth Alcantar, mayor of Cudahy, told the Los Angeles Times.

Delta Airlines confirmed in a statement that the passenger plane had released fuel to reduce its landing weight.

Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration told Reuters: “The FAA is thoroughly investigating the circumstances behind this incident. There are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major US airport.

“These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomises and disperses before it reaches the ground.”