United plane loses wheel during takeoff but lands safely

A Boeing aircraft operated by United Airlines lost a landing gear wheel during takeoff in Los Angeles before landing safely in Denver, the latest in a string of mechanical issues this year involving the manufacturer’s planes. The wheel fell from the Boeing 757-200 aircraft on Monday and was later recovered in Los Angeles, United Airlines said in a statement Tuesday.

There were no injuries reported on the ground or on board Flight 1001, United said, adding that it was investigating what happened.

The United plane was carrying 174 passengers and seven crew members, the statement said. The aircraft used in the flight was 29 years old, according to Flightradar24. Boeing ended production of 757 planes in 2004.

While Boeing has been at the center of several high-profile mishaps this year, including lost wheels, engine failures and blown-out door plugs, aviation experts stress that flying is incredibly safe and that fatal accidents are rare. Boeing has said it has “taken important steps to foster a safety culture.” Incidents like this may not necessarily be the responsibility of the manufacturer, but rather that of the airline that operates and maintains the aircraft.

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In March, a Japan-bound United flight from San Francisco was diverted to L.A. after losing a wheel during takeoff, with debris landing in an employee parking lot at San Francisco International Airport and damaging several vehicles. No one on the aircraft, a Boeing 777-200, was injured.

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