Hawaii-Bound United Flight Rains Engine Debris Over Broomfield Before Safe Return To DIA

Courtesy Broomfield Police Department
Engine debris from a United Airlines flight fell in the front yard of this home near 13th and Elmwood in Broomfield, Colo., Feb. 20, 2021.

Updated 7:00 p.m.

An engine cowling and parts from a commercial airliner fell on several locations in Broomfield during an emergency landing Saturday, with one very large piece narrowly missing a home.

Authorities said nobody aboard or on the ground was reported hurt.

Denver International Airport confirmed that the United Airlines flight which was headed to Honolulu safely returned after a mayday reporting engine trouble. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are aware of the debris reports and the NTSB will take over the investigation.

Photos posted by the Broomfield Police Department showed a large, circular piece of debris leaning against a house in the suburb about 25 miles north of Denver. Debris rained over Commons Park, a busy recreational space on the northeast corner of town and the Red Leaf and Northmoor neighborhoods according to police.

"A lot of people said they heard that really loud explosion, which startled a lot of people," said Broomfield Police Department public information officer Rachel Welte. "And then they just started seeing basically what they thought was a plane falling from the sky. What it was, was debris."

In nearby Arvada, another suburb under the plane's path, John Poole heard what he thought was thunder, then he checked his kitchen window.

"I looked out to see if I could see any planes, and I saw this twin-jet airliner, and kind of at that moment too, I just noticed it was smoking out of that right side," Poole said. "It was remarkable."

Broomfield police are asking anyone that finds debris near their home or neighborhood to please not touch it and instead contact the department.

"We have seen people actually touching and picking up the debris on social media," Welte noted. "We've had people that are wanting to get close, of course, and examine it. A lot of curiosity. That's understandable. This is a big deal. But we're just asking people, please leave it in place."