United Airlines flight loses tire after takeoff, damages cars


A United Airlines flight headed to Osaka, Japan had to divert to Los Angeles on Thursday after losing a tire shortly after taking off from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The incident caused damage to several vehicles in an employee parking lot but no injuries were reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the incident involving United Airlines flight 35, which departed SFO around 11:35 AM local time on March 7th with 249 passengers and crew onboard a Boeing 777-222(ER) (N226UA) aircraft.

A statement from the airline reads:

United flight 35 lost one tire after takeoff from San Francisco and landed at LAX. Our team quickly arranged for a new aircraft to take customers to Osaka this evening.

The tire debris landed in an airport employee parking lot, damaging several parked cars, according to SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel.

Eyewitness Gary Glass described seeing the spinning tire bounce violently and crush a Tesla vehicle.

Glass told ABC7 News:

At the speed and velocity that it was coming down, it would have crushed somebody like a grape.

The plane safely landed at Los Angeles International Airport around 1:30 PM.

United stated the Boeing 777-200 has six tires on each main landing gear and is designed to land safely with missing or damaged tires.

In a statement, the FAA said:

United Airlines Flight 35 landed safely at Los Angeles International Airport around 1:30 p.m. local time on March 7 after the crew reported a landing gear issue. The Boeing 777 departed from San Francisco International Airport and was headed to Osaka International Airport in Japan. The FAA will investigate.

SFO’s runway was temporarily closed to clear debris but reopened with no further impact to operations. United arranged a new aircraft to transport the impacted passengers to Osaka later that evening.

Retired pilots cited by CNN stated that losing a tire is a rare maintenance issue and not an indicator of larger safety problems with the aircraft model. Aviation experts said modern airliners are designed to safely land with damaged or missing tires.

Source: CNNABC7 NewsThe Aviation Herald

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