US regulators are investigating an incident in which a Delta flight dumped aviation fuel over a residential area, which included a primary school, during an emergency landing.
Children and adults in the Los Angeles school suffered skin irritation after being doused in the fuel but none were hospitalised, according to the local fire department.
Delta Air Lines flight 89 bound for Shanghai experienced engine problems shortly after taking-off and quickly declared an emergency before turning back for Los Angeles airport.
It is unclear at which point on its final approach the Boeing 777-200 began ejecting fuel, for how long, and whether ATC approved the dump at such low altitude.
Delta said in a statement that it had “concerns” over the reported injuries.
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The Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement saying: “The FAA is thoroughly investigating the circumstances behind this event. There are special emergency fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major US airport.
“These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground.”
While fuel dumping is normal in emergency cases, it is typically done at a higher altitude.
A statement from Delta said: “Shortly after takeoff, Flight 89 from LAX to Shanghai experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return quickly to LAX. The aircraft landed safely after a release of fuel, which was required as part of normal procedure to reach a safe landing weight.
“We are in touch with Los Angeles World Airports and the LA County Fire Department and share concerns regarding reported minor injuries to adults and children at a school in the area.”