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Jet Lands After Turbine Breaks, Starts Brush Fire

February 16, 1988|Associated Press

MIAMI — A turbine blade from an Eastern Airlines jet shattered on takeoff Monday and started a brush fire just outside the airport, but the plane returned safely and no one was injured, authorities said.

Right after Flight 8 from Miami to Newark, N. J., took off from Miami International Airport, according to Jack Barker, regional spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, "the pilot had a problem with the No. 2 engine and shut it off. Parts of the turbine blade came out and landed on airport property, and some of them landed in a parking lot."

The jet, a twin-engine European-built wide-body A-300 Airbus, can fly safely on one engine, and the pilot returned to the airport 10 minutes later without incident, Barker said. The plane carried 249 passengers and 10 crew members.

Some passengers said they had feared for their lives when the turbine blade disintegrated.

"It sounded like it hit something," an unidentified woman passenger told Miami's WPLG-TV. "There was a loud crash, and it just dropped for a few seconds, and then everybody just clutched each other."

Meanwhile, the hot pieces of the engine had ignited a small fire in a wooded area outside the airport, but no buildings were threatened and no one was injured.

The fragments ignited rubbish and tires in the parking lot, and four fire engines fought the blaze for more than four hours, Metro-Dade Fire Department dispatcher Joanne Davis said.

The turbine failure is under investigation, authorities said.

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