A Delta Airbus A319 jet departing from John Wayne Airport lost one of its two engines Saturday morning immediately after take-off, but landed safely at Los Angeles International Airport.
The flight was airborne just after 8 a.m. local time, when one of its engines flamed out. The captain of the stricken jet immediately declared an in-flight emergency and the jet diverted to LAX.
No passengers or crew were reported injured in the incident.
Delta flight No. 2388 was bound for Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to flight records.
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor in Los Angeles told the Independent that the Airbus jet experienced what is known as a “compressor stall.” According to Gregor, the “technicians replaced some parts after it landed at LAX and returned the plane to service the same day.”
Passengers where taken off the jet and put on different flights that morning without further incident.
An eyewitness to the incident, Kelli Henrie of Costa Mesa, who was walking her dogs Woody and Buck that morning in the Back Bay, witnessed the incident as it happened above.
Henrie told the Independent that after crossing Irvine Avenue at University she was headed west on a path in the Back Bay preserve when she heard “two very loud bangs, that seemed like explosions.”
“They were really loud,” she said.
She looked up and saw a large jet that was almost directly overhead.
“I looked up and saw the jet and saw what looked like flames coming out of one the engines.”
She said the jet then “disappeared into the clouds and I never saw it again.”
A man who was riding his bicycle on the path at the same time stopped and he and Henrie immediately started talking about what they had just witnessed, according to Henrie. She told the Independent she was very unnerved by what she saw.
Henrie said the man on the path said to her, “That plane just lost its engine, it’s going to have to return to the airport.”
Henrie immediately got on her cell phone and called her longtime boyfriend. She and other people who were on the path at the time – walkers, and the man on the bike – then talked with each other about what they had just seen and heard before going on their way that morning.
Henrie said that after the airplane disappeared into the clouds she thought to herself, “I only wondered what those passengers on the plane might have thought, the sound I heard was extremely loud.”
According to the FAA’s Gregor, the Airbus A319 can fly safely on only one of its engines, telling the Independent “twin-engine jets can fly for literally thousands of miles on one engine.”
Nonetheless, the loss of an engine is considered a serious safety issue, especially on take-off.
Delta Airline spokesman Anthony Black in Atlanta told the Independent that the flight’s pilot “declared an in-flight emergency” and the airplane “was met by an emergency response at LAX,” but was able to proceed to a standard gate where passengers disembarked the jet without any further incident.