Today, Italian news outlet Corriere Della Sera is reporting an incident involving a Norwegian Boeing 787. The aircraft took off from Rome’s Fiumicino airport bound for Los Angeles as flight DY7115. Shortly after take-off, the aircraft suffered a “motor failure” and had to circle back to land again at Fiumicino. The most shocking part was that falling debris from the incident caused damage to the roofs of cars and houses in the area of Isola Sacra. There was even a report of someone becoming slightly burned.
The flight, with 298 passengers on board, could have caused more damage and serious injuries. According to the Italian press, the falling debris was close to a town center as well as the crowded beaches of the Roman coast.
On this pleasant summer day, residents of Isola Sacra experienced a “rain of incandescent metal fragments” falling to the ground from about 400 meters. The source of these metal fragments was the left engine of a Norwegian Airlines Boeing 787 that had just taken off from Leonardo Da Vinci airport headed for Los Angeles.
Alarms were triggered almost immediately according to sources. At 16:20, emergency vehicles appeared both at the runway as well as at Isola Sacra, where residents were surprised by the falling pieces of metal. The debris was found to have broken through the windows of parked cars and hit the tiles on top of buildings.
The pilot declared an emergency landing and, after having dumped fuel, returned back to the Fiumicino airport for technical checks.
The fragments – about 5-10 centimeters in size – landed north of the road Ernesto Cabruna. Some residents collected them in the street and on the balconies of the houses. The mayor of Fiumicino, Esterino Montino made the following statement (translated from Italian):
“It is time to take action…this incident shows that the overflights on houses between Fregene and Isola Sacra are dangerous…We need to review the agreements that provide for the use of that track that was built when the areas around the airport were already inhabited and not vice versa”.
Italy’s ANSV, the National Agency for Flight Safety (L’Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza del Volo) has opened an investigation on the incident. Inspectors were sent to examine the engine of the aircraft and also to the area where there was ground damage. Sources say that checks could now take place on engines of the same type. Furthermore, there will be checks on maintenance procedures.
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According to Airfleets, LN-LND is a 5.5-year-old Boeing 787-8 leased from AerCap. Prior to this incident, the aircraft had made trips in and out of Rome from the American cities of Boston and Oakland.
Norwegian is just one of the airlines that has had issues with its 787s and their Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. 787s can have either the Trent 1000 or GEnx engines. In this case, we can confirm that this aircraft had the problematic Trent 1000s.
Official responses from Norwegian & Rolls-Royce
A Norwegian spokesperson said,
“Flight DY7115 from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Los Angeles (LAX) experienced a technical issue a few minutes after take-off this afternoon. The aircraft returned to the airport where it landed safely.
“All 298 passengers on board the flight are being taken care of in the terminal by our handling agent and the airport.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our main priority. We are actively working with Aeroporti di Roma and the Italian authorities in the investigation. Because of this, we cannot comment any further on the specific aspects of this event.”
A spokesperson from Rolls-Royce said,
“We are aware of the event and are working with our customer to provide support and technical assistance.”