This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

On October 28 last year, American Airlines flight 383 was departing Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) for Miami (MIA) when it suffered what’s known as an uncontained engine failure, caused by a weakness in the high-pressure turbine disk of the General Electric CF6 engine on the right side of the plane. The engine basically exploded and sent debris flying, piercing the plane’s wing, resulting in a catastrophic fuel fire which severely damaged the plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board released preliminary findings from the incident a few days ago. The report is troublesome, describing passengers ignoring instructions from flight attendants, and passengers being knocked down by the hot exhaust from a jet engine that was left running briefly during the evacuation.

Within the report, at least three flight attendants testified that they encountered passengers who refused to leave their personal belongings behind on the plane as instructed. They ended up having to allow those passengers to evacuate with their stuff, rather than delaying the process and jeopardizing lives. Thankfully, only minor injuries occurred during the evacuation.

Image courtesy of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Image courtesy of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

A piece of the engine went through the wing when the turbine disk failed. That piece went over the plane, and landed inside a UPS warehouse (Disk fragment A), about a quarter-mile away.

In hindsight, it’s fortunate the incident occurred while the plane was still on the runway. Had it happened a few seconds later with the plane in the air, the number of casualties/injuries would surely have been significantly higher, considering the damage to the wing. Much of the resulting fire happened due to spilled fuel from the pierced wing. The heat was so intense that the outer portion of the wing melted and fell limp to the ground.

The pilots brought the plane to a stop on the runway, about 30 seconds after the engine failure. But for unknown reasons, they did not immediately shut off the remaining functioning engine. The NTSB report says passengers were attempting to evacuate, but the flight attendants aboard the plane had to hold them back, because of the running engine. On one side, the engine and ground were on fire, but the other side was equally dangerous due to the running engine.

Evacuation slides were deployed on the non-fiery side of the plane, but the hot exhaust from the running engine blew the aft slides backward, delaying the evacuation even more. Once the cabin began filling with smoke, flight attendants had no choice but to let passengers egress, bags and all. Some passengers reported being knocked down and/or burned by the engine exhaust. However, those injuries pale in comparison to what could have happened.

Thankfully, everyone aboard flight 383 survived in spite of the oddities of the evacuation and the passengers who insisted on evacuating with their own belongings. It would be great if airlines could lock down the overhead bins during evacuation. At least one manufacturer (Zodiac Aerospace) is working on that function, but we haven’t seen this capability implemented yet.

Featured image by @CaptPuneetNagi on Twitter.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.