Local Flight Makes Emergency Landing in San Francisco
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento airplane crash attorney. On 28 November, a United Airlines flight bound for Japan made an emergency landing at the San Francisco International Airport. Initial reports indicate the plane was forced to land due to an engine failure shortly after takeoff.
Details of the Flight
United Airlines Flight 837 departed from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at approximately 11:36 a.m. Shortly after 12 p.m., mere minutes into the flight, one of the aircraft’s four engines malfunctioned. The pilot notified ground control and the airport began preparations for an emergency landing.
Flight 837 then made several circuits over the coast near San Francisco in order to burn fuel before landing at 1:43 p.m. The pilot and his copilot were able to land the aircraft without incident.
Flight 837 was a Boeing 747-400 with 202 passengers and 15 crew members onboard. All were bound for Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan.
Several ground eyewitnesses report seeing smoke and fire billowing from one of the aircraft’s engines. United Airlines and SFO would not confirm these reports.
What Went Wrong?
A United Airlines spokesperson and a SFO ground operations mechanic both said the engine failed due to a compressor stall in the number two engine. A compressor stall is a situation wherein air flows abnormally into the engine. This creates turbulence and pressure fluctuations within the engine that prevents the engine from functioning as normal. In some cases, it can cause a fire within the engine.
A compressor stall can be caused by a variety of factors, including a bird strike, storms, old parts, and extreme flight maneuvers. There is no word yet on what caused Flight 837’s compressor stall.
Is the National Transportation Safety Board Investigating?
Yes. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the cause of the engine malfunction and the subsequent emergency landing. Officials are currently saying that the pilot did everything right after discovering the engine malfunction, but they have not offered a clue as to the cause of the compressor malfunction. A preliminary report should be issued by the NTSB in the next month.
Injuries to Flight Crew and Passengers
Emergency services on-site did not transport any passengers or crew members to the hospital and a United Airlines spokesperson said no one was injured. Injuries were likely avoided because the aircraft’s pilot discovered the problem so soon after take-off, allowing the plane to return to the airport. Other accidents caused by compressor stalls have had far more serious effects.
The most famous accident caused by a compressor stall is often referred to as the “Miracle on the Hudson.” On 15 January 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing on the Hudson River after the compressors in both engines failed after several bird strikes. Despite Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger successfully controlling the aircraft’s descent, several people suffered cervical sprain injuries and many suffered from minor hypothermia.
In another accident in 1997, a Russian transport plane crashed into a residential area after experiencing a compressor stall. In that accident, all 23 people on board the aircraft and an additional 45 people on the ground were fatally injured.
Sacramento Airplane Crash Attorneys
I’m Ed Smith, an Airplane crash attorney in Sacramento. If you or someone close to you has been seriously hurt or passed away in a plane crash, please call me at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice. You may also reach me toll-free at (800) 404-5400.
I am a member in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This is a forum of experienced trial attorneys who have case verdicts and settlements exceeding 1 million dollars.
Look at some of my Past Case Settlements and Verdicts here.
Source of Local flight makes emergency landing in San Francisco – www.sfgate.com
Image Attribution: By Adrian Pingstone (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons