Plane dumps fuel on school playground as it returns to LAX after declaring emergency

By Peter Martinez

/ CBS News

Jet fuel hits school playground in LA

A Delta plane returning to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) after declaring an engine emergency dumped fuel on an elementary school playground in Southern California, firefighter officials said Tuesday. Officials said 70 firefighters responded to the city of Cudahy near the airport, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The children at Park Avenue Elementary School reported skin irritation and smelled what they said was jet fuel in the area, some 13 miles east of LAX. There were also reports of fuel at 93rd Elementary and Jordan High School.

Los Angeles fire officials tweeted a total of 17 children and nine adults had minor injuries. None were hospitalized and were treated on scene.

UPDATE*** Patient count updated to 17 children, 9 adults. All minor injuries w/ no transports to local hospital from school. There are no evacuation orders for the immediate area. Substance was confirmed JET FUEL.

Refer to school regarding plans for child pick-up. #LACoFD

— L.A. County Fire Department (@LACoFDPIO) January 14, 2020

Flight tracking website FlightAware showed Delta Air Lines Flight 89 to Shanghai, China, left LAX and circled back over Southern California before returning to the airport.

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the flight declared an emergency after departing from LAX, returned to the airport and landed without incident. "The FAA is aware of and looking into reports that children at a school east of LAX are being treated for fuel exposure," the administration said.

Delta said: "Shortly after takeoff, Flight 89 from LAX to Shanghai experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return to LAX."

Los Angeles Unified School District issued a statement saying "students and staff were on the playground at the time and may have been sprayed by fuel or inhaled fumes." Paramedics were immediately called, officials said, and anyone reporting skin irritation or breathing problems were treated.

Some on social media captured what appeared to be the plane dumping fuel as it approached LAX in an attempt to lower the plane's weight before it made a successful landing.

Caught this in Bell Gardens over my house NEWS SAID IT DROPPED FUEL OVER AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN CUDAHY @KTLA @FOXLA @cnnbrk @UniNoticias @NBCLA @ABC7 @ABC @NBCNews @TelemundoNews pic.twitter.com/VG3HBpyYtn

— Sujey Hernandez (@SujeyHernandez) January 14, 2020

VIDEO ↩️ DIVERSION RETURN
Delta #DL89 to Shanghai returning to Los Angeles shortly after departure. Reported an engine failure (compressor stall) on [email protected] captured the flight dumping fuel, to reduce landing weight. ARFF standing by. pic.twitter.com/knaK5dKWXe

— Tom Podolec Aviation (@TomPodolec) January 14, 2020

First published on January 14, 2020 / 4:46 PM

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