Debris that detached from the left engine of a Norwegian Air flight Boeing 787 Dreamliner allegedly rained down “like bullets” on an Italian neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome, Italy.
One person was hit, 25 vehicles were damaged, and 12 homes were impacted, The Sun reported.
— Breaking Aviation News (@breakingavnews) August 10, 2019
The debris fell in most part on the area of Isola Sacra, in the city of Fiumicino, on Aug. 10, as the plane was heading to Los Angeles from Rome.
A witness told Italian outlet Il Messaggero, “They were like bullets. My shirt was on fire!”
Another witness said, “It looked like a strong hailstorm but it was sunny. I went out on the balcony and saw it was a storm of steel and iron. I screamed and ran into the house.”
The man hit by the debris was reportedly not hurt seriously. He said that he felt “lucky to be alive.”
Locals came out to pick up the debris. Most of it measured 4 to 8 inches.
Some of the cars that were struck had their windows shattered.
When the plane reached 3,000 feet, it headed back to Rome to land due to an emergency declaration by the pilots 23 minutes after taking off, reported Fox San Antonio.
None of the 298 passengers on board the five and a half-year-old Boeing were hurt.
The jetliner’s engine was a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, one known to have many problems.
A local mayor said that metal chunks “fell at great speed to the ground” and that “When falling, these fragments hit parked cars, garden sheds, and other objects, damaging them,” he wrote on Facebook.
A spokeswoman for Norwegian Air said that there had been “indications of a technical failure.”
Bits from the left engine of a 787-8 Dreamliner (LN-LND) Norwegian which took of from Rome for LAX fell in the Isola Sacra region of Fiumicino. The 787 (298 pax) returned to FCO, landed safely. No injuries on the ground, but a few cars damaged. https://t.co/6Cq3eULgs1 @JacdecNew pic.twitter.com/IZEz5lhE8A
— Aeronews (@AeronewsRO) August 10, 2019
The exact causes of the technical problems, what caused the parts to break, and how close the incident was from catastrophe is not currently known.
Italy’s aviation safety agency has started to investigate, and it is believed that similar engine models will be inspected, reported Asia Times.
According to Corriere Della Sela, “Only a few more moments of flight and the incandescent splinters would have hit the center of town, or the crowded beaches of the Roman coast.”
“The safety of customers and crew is always our main priority. We are actively collaborating with Aeroporti di Roma and the Italian authorities in the investigation,” Airline representatives wrote in a statement obtained by Fox News. “As it is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment of specific aspects of this event.”
Fiumicino Mayor Esterino Montino wrote on Facebook: “What happened confirms the issue of security that we have put on several occasions in the appropriate forums. As an administration, we have repeatedly raised the problem of the compatibility of the first track with the city.”
“We urgently need a table with ENAC, ENAV, and ADR to address and resolve the issue and secure homes and people,” he added.
“Local police, state police, carabinieri, fire brigade, and civil protection officers went to the site. In these minutes the details of the people who own the damaged objects are being collected,” said Montino.