Following engine fire, Hawaii-bound United 777 rains debris on Denver suburbs

Feb 20, 2021

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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It was likely a scary day for 231 passengers and 10 crew members on board a United Airlines 777-200 to Hawaii — and for countless Coloradans on the ground.

United flight 328 was just minutes into its flight from Denver (DEN) to Honolulu (HNL) when the Number 2 engine, located on the starboard side of the aircraft, appeared to have caught fire.

Sign-up for the TPG daily newsletter to get travel coverage like this delivered to your inbox.


As you can see from the video above, the engine remained on fire for at least several seconds, with the cowling completely blown off. One component was quickly identified on the front yard of a local home — fortunately, no injuries have been reported.

More debris was identified in Broomfield County Commons Park, roughly 30 miles from Denver International Airport.

Colorado local Hayden Smith photographed the aircraft from the ground, before its safe return to DEN.

Photo courtesy of Hayden Smith.

United Airlines quickly confirmed the incident, issuing the following statement:

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. There are no reported injuries onboard, and we will share more information as it becomes available.

The airline followed up with another statement later this afternoon, adding:

United flight 328 experienced an engine failure and safely returned to Denver. We are in contact with the FAA, NTSB and local law enforcement. The NTSB is investigating and has directed that any persons with debris from this event contact their local law enforcement agency. All passengers and crew have deplaned and been transported back to the terminal in DEN. We are now working to get our customers on a new flight to Honolulu in the next few hours.

The aircraft in question is N772UA, a 25-year-old Boeing 777-200 configured for domestic and regional flights, with 28 lie-flat seats in business class, 102 Economy Plus seats and 234 seats in coach.

The plane has operated a handful of seemingly uneventful flights over the past week, including a roughly 3-hour hop from Chicago (ORD) to Denver earlier today.

Notably, another Hawaii-bound United 777-200 experienced similar engine trouble just over three years ago. The NTSB, which will soon investigate this incident, determined that the February 2018 issue was caused by a broken engine fan blade.

It’ll likely be weeks or even months before we know exactly what caused flight 328’s engine failure. While it was surely an emotional experience for some onboard, fortunately, nobody has been reported physically injured either on the plane or on the ground.

Featured photo courtesy of Hayden Smith.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.