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United Airlines engine casing breaks apart over Pacific Ocean

Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Passengers aboard a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Hawaii had a scare Tuesday when the covering for the plane's right engine broke apart over the Pacific Ocean.

Flight 1175 departed San Francisco International Airport about 9 a.m. PST and was about 45 minutes away from landing in Honolulu when the Boeing 777's right engine cover, or cowling, broke apart over the Pacific.

"Heard a big bang and the plane started to shake violently," tweeted Maria Falaschi, who posted images of the engine. "The pilots and crew did a great job at keeping us updated."

The airline said in a statement that the engine "had an issue" but would not go into detail about what happened or why. The pilots declared an emergency due to vibration from the engine, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft. The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally," the airline said.

The company is fully cooperating with investigations by the National Transportation Safety Administration and FAA, United said.

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There were two pilots, eight flight attendants and 363 passengers aboard the flight.

"We are currently reaching out to all of our customers on this flight, and plan to fully refund every ticket," the airline said.

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