Saturday, November 09, 2013

Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-100, N504NK, Flight NK-409: Dropped engine cowling at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (KORD), Illinois

A Spirit Airlines plane sits at O'Hare International Airport after it lost part of its right engine cover--known as the engine cowlings--on takeoff early Saturday. 
(WGN-TV / November 9, 2013)

A Spirit Airlines plane had to return to O’Hare International Airport soon after takeoff when part of the housing for one of its engines fell off, officials said. 

No one was injured when the cowling for the right engine on Flight 409, headed for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., became detached and the flight crew had to return to O’Hare just after takeoff a little after 5:30 a.m., said Misty Pinson, spokeswoman for the Florida-based airline.

About 5:45 a.m. after the plane took off from runway 28R, a passenger saw that the engine cowlings on the right side of the Airbus A319 were missing, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said. The crew “received an indication of a possible mechanical issue,” and declared an emergency, Pinson said in an email.

The plane returned to O’Hare and landed on runway 28, Cory said.

The plane was brought back to the gate, and customers were able to leave the plane safely with crew help, Pinson said. Those who wanted to were able to get on another plane that headed to Fort Lauderdale, while those needing to make connections were rebooked. Customers also were offered refunds if they preferred.

The Chicago Fire Department declared an aircraft standby response for the incident, which includes six ambulances being dispatched, but no one wsa injured, a Fire Department spokesman said. The right engine cowlings were found on airport property, and Spirit crews were inspecting the plane and the cowlings, Pinson said.

The FAA was to take possession of the cowlings as part of its investigation of the incident, Cory said.

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