Injuries as jet dumps fuel on school
A plane coming in to land at Los Angeles International Airport has dumped jet fuel on a primary school playground, resulting in "multiple patients".
The Shanghai-bound aircraft operated by Delta Airlines appears to dump the fuel across the playground, which is now being assessed by officials, the Los Angeles County Fire Department says.
At least three fire units were on the scene at Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy after midday on Tuesday (local time).
The incident affected a number of other schools including Jordan High School and 93rd Street Elementary, police said.
"Substance was confirmed as JET FUEL," the fire department said in an update on Twitter.
Multiple children and adults were treated by paramedics and firefighters for "minor" injuries.
"70 firefighters and paramedics on-scene and committed to providing care for those injured," a tweet from the department read.
"There are no evacuation orders for the immediate area."
Later in the day, the department said a total of 44 patients had been evaluated across multiple schools.
There were 20 children and 11 adult patients at Park Avenue, six patients at Tweedy Elementary School and six patients at San Gabriel Elementary School, both in South Gate, and one adult patient at Graham Elementary School
None of the patients were transported to hospital.
Inspector Henry Narvaez said the fuel had dissipated by the time it reached the ground but the children and adults could smell it.
LA School Police said Jordan High School resumed to "normal operations" until 3pm while students were dismissed for the day from 93rd Street Elementary.
Downey Fire Department advised those in the northern and western parts of Downey to close their doors and windows to keep any odour out.
"The tiny fuel droplets will evaporate quickly," the department said in a text to residents.
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
Make-up artist Sujey Hernandez, who claims she was in the area at the time of the incident, uploaded footage to Twitter shot by her son, Ivan, that appears to show the streams of fuel spilling from the aircraft wings.
Park Avenue sixth-grader Diego Martinez said he and his classmates were outside for their physical education class when they saw the airplane flying low overhead.
"It was very close," he said.
Shortly afterwards the air filled with the pungent smell of fuel.
"It was very strong," the 12-year-old said.
Fox 11 reports the aircraft, Delta 89, was forced to turn back minutes after takeoff.
In a statement provided to news.com.au, a spokesperson for the airline said the plane experienced "engine issues" requiring an "emergency fuel release".
"Shortly after takeoff, Flight 89 from LAX to Shanghai experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return to LAX," the statement read.
"The aircraft landed safely after an emergency fuel release to reduce landing weight."
Los Angeles Unified School District said the plane discharged fuel "while flying over our schools".
"Students and staff may have been sprayed by fuel or inhaled fumes. Paramedics are treating those complaining of skin irritation or breathing problems," LAUSD said on Twitter.
The Federal Aviation Administration is "thoroughly investigating" the incident, noting "there are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major US airport".
The procedures call for fuel to be dumped over "designated unpopulated areas", the FAA said.