TOKYO — A United Airlines Boeing 747 on a flight from Los Angeles with 258 people aboard landed safely today at New Tokyo International Airport after three of its four engines failed, an airline official said.
None of the 239 passengers and 19 crew members aboard UAL Flight 97 to Tokyo were injured, said the official, Katsuro Isa.
Isa said the Boeing 747-100 landed at 3:17 p.m. local time with emergency vehicles standing by at the airport in Narita, 40 miles northeast of Tokyo.
He said the aircraft lost the use of one engine over the Pacific Ocean approximately one hour and 15 minutes before landing, a second engine about 30 minutes later and a third engine just before landing.
'Expedited Approach' Asked
Isa said the captain requested and was granted an "expedited approach and emergency vehicles standing by."
The aircraft taxied under its own power to the terminal and the passengers left the plane in a "normal fashion," he said.
The jetliner pilot told air controllers that he was forced to shut down the engines because their measuring devices showed abnormalities.
Cause of the instrument malfunctions was under investigation.
Kyodo News Service quoted passengers as saying they were frightened when told by the crew to put on life jackets and instructed in their use.
'I Expected Death'
"We thought the plane would crash into the sea and we would be killed," Kyodo quoted Japanese passenger Tetsu Otani, 25, as saying at the airport. However, he said, the passengers remained calm.
The agency quoted another passenger, Kazuko Kato, 25, as saying: "I expected death at any moment."
Kato, who was on her honeymoon, told Kyodo that as the jet landed, the passengers clapped wildly.
"We are lucky we are alive!" Kyodo quoted Kato as telling her husband.
A Transport Ministry official at the airport, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the aircraft flew to Narita rather than other airports in northern Japan because the captain believed he could reach it safely.
Boeing spokesman David Jimenez, reached at home in Seattle this morning, said he hadn't heard of the incident but wasn't surprised the jet was able to land safely.
"Almost any aircraft we have is capable of operating on one engine," he said.
However, he said he didn't know of any other 747 losing power in three engines.