A Delta flight was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after taking off from Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday and upon returning to the airport apparently dumped jet fuel which hit over two dozen people at an elementary school.
The Associated Press reported:
The flight tracking website FlightAware shows that Delta Air Lines Flight 89 to Shanghai, China, departed LAX and circled back over Southern California and returned to the airport on Tuesday.
“70 firefighters and paramedics on-scene and committed to providing care for those injured. FFs working to confirm substance dropped by aircraft, although initial reports stated smell of jet fuel in area,” The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted. “17 children and 6 adults (23 patients total) all complaining of minor injuries being triaged by LACoFD Paramedics and Firefighters.”
UPDATE*** 17 children and 6 adults (23 patients total) all complaining of minor injuries being triaged by LACoFD Paramedics and Firefighters.
— L.A. County Fire Department (@LACoFDPIO) January 14, 2020
CBS News reported: “Paramedics were immediately called, officials said, and anyone reporting skin irritation or breathing problems were treated.”
The Los Angeles Police Department noted that three schools were sprayed with the fuel, including Park Avenue Elementary, Jordan High School, and 93rd Street Elementary.
The Federal Aviation Administration responded the incident by issuing the following statement: “Delta Air Lines Flight 89 declared an emergency after departing from LAX, returned to the airport and landed without incident. The FAA is aware of and looking into reports that children at a school east of LAX are being treated for fuel exposure.”
The Los Angeles County Fire Department later tweeted: “The 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. Refer to school regarding plans for child pick-up.”
“Shortly after takeoff, Flight 89 from LAX to Shanghai experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return to LAX,” Delta spokesperson Adrian Gee said. “The aircraft landed safely after an emergency fuel release to reduce landing weight.”
Los Angeles Times reporter Colleen Shalby tweeted a video of the plane landing, writing: “Shortly before this plane landed at LAX, it dumped what’s believed to be fuel on an elementary school playground, hitting several students. LA County Fire said 70+ are on scene assessing multiple patients.”
Shortly before this plane landed at LAX, it dumped what's believed to be fuel on an elementary school playground, hitting several students. LA County Fire said 70+ are on scene assessing multiple patients https://t.co/G5duAwTvUt pic.twitter.com/LsJaAOTfpg
— Colleen Shalby (@CShalby) January 14, 2020
AP freelance photographer Matt Hartman tweeted another video of the plane, writing: “DELTA flight 89 to Shanghai dumping fuel, returning to LAX W/ unknown emergency.”
DELTA flight 89 to Shanghai dumping fuel, returning to LAX W/ unknown emergency pic.twitter.com/UQVnRuc0IA
— Matt Hartman (@ShorealoneFilms) January 14, 2020
“L.A. City Fire spokesperson Nicholas Prange said two classes were outside when the liquid rained down shortly before noon. Students and staff were instructed to go indoors and remain there for the time being,” The Los Angeles Times reported. “Los Angeles School Police said that out of an abundance of caution, Jordan High School in Long Beach sheltered in place during the incident, but no students or faculty were affected.”
“It was not immediately clear why the plane had let the fuel drop over a highly populated area in southeast Los Angeles County,” The New York Times reported. “Sean Ferguson, a spokesman for the Fire Department … said that despite the frequent sight and sound of planes approaching the Los Angeles airport for landing, he could not recall another instance in which a plane dumped fuel on civilians in the last decade.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.