(CBS) – Mechanical debris was found scattered thousands of feet away from the spot where an American Airlines jet aborted takeoff and caught fire Friday at O’Hare International Airport, a federal investigator said today.
Lorenda Ward, senior investigator in charge for the National Transportation Safety Board, blamed the incident on an “uncontained engine failure” but stressed the investigation is in its early stages.
All 161 passengers and nine crew exited AA Flight 383 after the incident, around 2:30 p.m. Friday, and 20 people were taken to hospitals for minor injuries. All were released as of Saturday, Ward said.
Ward said the jet stopped 3,000 feet short of the runway’s end. A fuel fire erupted under the right wing, though it did not breach the interior, she said. The right engine was the one that had the failure.
Specifically, the failure involved a disc in the engine. The disc is one of the rotating pieces of a jet engine that produces the power needed to keep the plane going.
Debris was found in at least two places, including a portion that was recovered nearly 3,000 feet away at a UPS warehouse, Ward said. Another fragment was found about one-third of a mile away on airport property, the investigator said.
The debris and flight recorders are being shipped to NTSB laboratories, Ward said.
The O’Hare runway was closed to traffic. Ward deferred questions to airport officials about when the runway would be reopened.