1st LD Writethru: United Airlines flight lands safely in Denver after engine explosion

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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- A United Airlines flight with more than 200 people on board made a safe emergency landing at Denver International Airport on Saturday after the right engine exploded in the air. No injuries were reported.

"Flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu experienced an engine failure shortly after departure, returned safely to Denver and was met by emergency crews as a precaution," a statement issued by the airline company said.

The Boeing 777-200 airplane took off at 12:15 p.m. local time (1915 GMT). It turned back and landed safely at around 1:30 p.m. (2030 GMT) after its crew reported an engine issue, local media said.

All the 241 people on board, including 231 passengers and 10 crew members, have safely deplaned. The airline company said it will "share more information as it becomes available."

Images and video clips shot by passengers showed the plane's right engine was on fire and went to flames following its failure mid-flight, while other pictures taken by people looking from the ground showed a large commercial airliner flying with smoke streaming from one of its engines and debris raining down from the plane.

Debris was scattered across three different neighborhoods near the airport, authorities said, adding that there were no immediate reports of any injuries on the ground.

According to reports of CBS Denver news channel, a truck parked in the front yard of a house in the city of Broomfield was destroyed after a piece of the plane fell from the sky and landed on it.

Kirby Klements, owner of the house and the truck, said a large falling engine cowling came within 10 feet (3.04 meters) of crashing through his home and killing him.

He said he came outside after the incident and saw insulation falling like snow onto his home and neighborhood.

"A lot of people said they heard that really loud explosion which startled a lot of people, and then they just started seeing basically they thought was a plane falling from the sky," Broomfield police spokeswoman Rachel Welte said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is taking over the investigation. Enditem

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