Delta Air Lines Flight 89
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Template:Infobox aircraft occurrence Delta Air Lines Flight 89 was a scheduled flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Shanghai Pudong International Airport. On January 14, 2020, the plane encountered engine problems shortly after departing Los Angeles International Airport. While preparing for an emergency landing on its airport of origin, it dumped fuel over the surrounding areas adjacent to the city of Los Angeles, resulting in skin and lung irritation in at least 56 people on the ground and triggering a Federal Aviation Administration investigation. Regardless, everyone onboard survived with no injuries.
Flight 89 was a regularly scheduled flight from LAX to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, operated by Delta Air Lines using a Boeing 777-200ER widebody jet aircraft. Flight 89 departed from LAX at 11:32am on January 14, 2020. The aircraft had 149 passengers and 16 crew members on board.
Minutes after departing LAX and initiating a climb over the Pacific Ocean, the pilots reported a compressor stall in the aircraft's right engine. Air traffic controllers asked Flight 89 whether the pilots wanted to remain over the ocean to dump fuel, but the pilots declined, saying "we've got it under control... we're not critical." Controllers again asked, "OK, so you don't need to hold or dump fuel or anything like that?", to which the pilots responded, "Negative." Flight 89 turned back over land and headed toward LAX to make an emergency landing. While over land and approaching LAX for an emergency landing, the plane dumped fuel over a five-mile portion of the Los Angeles county area, including five elementary schools and a high school. CBS News reported that, based on the expert opinion of a former Boeing 777 captain, Flight 89 would likely have dumped 15-20,000 gallons of fuel.
Shortly after completing the fuel dump, the aircraft landed safely.
First responders were called to multiple schools to treat children and staff who were outdoors at the time Flight 89 dumped fuel. At least 56 children and adults were reported to have minor skin and lung irritations. All affected schools were closed for cleaning, but reopened the following day.
The story received widespread media attention, with detailed investigation and analysis from organizations including CBS News, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and received substantial international media coverage. Aviation experts were puzzled by the actions of the flight crew. A former United Airlines captain called the fuel dump over a populated area "a pretty outrageous thing" that "nobody" would do. Safety expert John Cox said that because "they were not in an immediate threat condition, and they started out over water," the pilots will need to explain "why they continued to dump fuel at low altitude when they weren’t in a fuel-dumping area, and didn't advise ATC that they were dumping fuel."
On January 15, the FAA announced it was investigating the Flight 89 incident. In a statement, the FAA noted that "There are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major U.S. airport," and that "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."
Following the Flight 89 incident, the mayor of Burien, Washington, a city located adjacent to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, called on the Port of Seattle to develop an emergency response plan for similar situations.
- "Delta Airplane Dumps Jet Fuel on Los Angeles Schools". The New York Times. January 15, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/14/us/delta-fuel.html. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- "Tracking Delta Flight 89’s path before it dumped fuel on an elementary school". Los Angeles Times. January 14, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-14/tracking-delta-flight-89s-path-before-it-dumped-fuel-on-an-elementary-school. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- "Delta jet dumps fuel over Southern California, sickening dozens of schoolkids and adults". CBS News. January 14, 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jet-fuel-dump-california-schools-delta-air-lines-flight-89-emergency-landing-lax-today-2020-01-14-live-updates/. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- "FAA investigating Delta jet fuel-dumping on schoolkids". CTV. January 15, 2020. https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/faa-investigating-delta-jet-fuel-dumping-on-schoolkids-1.4767414. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
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- "Children seen leaving school in tears after plane fuel dumped on playground". Metro (British newspaper). January 15, 2020. https://metro.co.uk/2020/01/15/children-seen-leaving-school-tears-plane-fuel-dumped-playground-12063605/. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
- "Plane dumps fuel over schools near Los Angeles airport". BBC. January 15, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51112630.
- "Aviation experts puzzled after airliner dumps fuel over city". Washington Post. January 15, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/aviation-experts-puzzled-after-airliner-dumps-fuel-over-city/2020/01/15/fd671b88-37f6-11ea-a1ff-c48c1d59a4a1_story.html. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
- Ayers, Christin (January 15, 2020). "Burien mayor calls for 'plan of action' at Sea-Tac Airport after LAX fuel dump incident". KING 5 News. https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/burien-mayor-jet-fuel-dump-lax/281-e81f6535-8c9e-4969-a208-d66b546602c5. Retrieved January 18, 2020.