United Airlines plane loses wheel during takeoff from LAX, lands safely in Denver

By Aldgra Fredly

Contributing Writer

A United Airlines Boeing 757-200 plane lost a wheel from its landing gear while taking off from Los Angeles International Airport on Monday but managed to land safely in Denver.

United Flight 1001, bound for Denver, was carrying 174 passengers and seven crew members when the incident occurred. There have been no reported injuries on the aircraft and on the ground, the airline said.

“The wheel has been recovered in Los Angeles, and we are investigating what caused this event,” the airline said in a statement, without elaborating or saying when it happened.

The airline suffered a similar incident in March when the wheel of a Boeing 777-200ER plane detached shortly after takeoff from San Francisco International Airport. Flight UA35, en route to Osaka, Japan, was diverted to Los Angeles.

The aircraft was carrying 235 passengers, 10 crew members, and four pilots at the time. Debris from the tire also damaged several cars parked at San Francisco International Airport.

At the time, United CEO Scott Kirby sent a letter to customers acknowledging the incidents and saying the airline was reviewing the details of the cases to determine the causes.

“Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety,” Kirby said. “While they are all unrelated, I want you to know that these incidents have our attention and have sharpened our focus.”

The FAA started a formal evaluation of United Airlines in March to ensure the airline was “complying with safety regulations; identifying hazards and mitigating risk; and effectively managing safety” after multiple accidents.

The agency said on May 16 that it has not approved any expansion of United Airlines’ routes or fleets, adding that the evaluation program “is ongoing, and safety will determine the timeline for completing it.”

One of the incidents that triggered the FAA review involved an older Boeing 737-800 that was missing an aluminum panel after it arrived at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport in Oregon on March 15. The flight departed from San Francisco and made a safe landing before officials noticed the missing panel during a post-flight inspection.

On March 8, officials evacuated passengers from a United flight that had rolled off a runway in Houston and gotten stuck in the grass. None of the 160 passengers or six crew members were hurt.

Jacob Burg contributed to this report.

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