Flight recordings have revealed that the Delta flight which dumped aviation fuel over several schools in Los Angeles did not have permission to do so. The flight, DL 89 dumped fuel over neighborhoods east of Los Angeles International Airport.
The flight had taken off from Los Angeles airport for Shanghai, but shortly after departure, developed engine problems and had to thus return to the airport. The Boeing 777-200 landed safely after circling back over Los Angeles while dumping aviation fuel to reach a safe landing weight, the airline said in a statement.
The weight of a fueled airplane can damage the plane and the runway during landing. Thus, it is required to be of a certain weight. Pilots are generally advised to dump the fuel over regions which are inhabited.
The cockpit recordings state that the pilot did not need to drop fuel. It was recorded as:
“We’re going to go ahead,” the pilot or co-pilot responded. “We’ve got it back under control. ... We’re not critical.” “OK, so you don’t need to hold or dump fuel or anything like that?” the controller asked. “Ah, negative,” was the response.
According to officials, around 20 children and 11 adults complained of skin irritation and minor respiratory problems. They were treated on the spot, as per reports. Furthermore, it was stated that the airplane landed safely around noon.
The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement on Twitter saying that they are investigating the incident. It was stated that there are some special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft. The plane mid-way dumped its fuel onto a wide area that included Park Avenue Elementary School. The school was located around 25 kilometres east of the airport.
UPDATE: Schools open after Delta sends overnight cleaning crews to L.A. County https://t.co/KomSqIX1gs— Delta News Hub (@DeltaNewsHub) January 15, 2020