Delta Air Lines Plane Loses Part In Mid-Flight, Makes Emergency U-Turn

John Oyewale Contributor
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A Netherlands-bound Delta Air Lines airplane returned to Utah after losing an engine pylon panel during takeoff Sunday, according to reports.

The Airbus A330neo carrying 260 passengers and 13 crew members departed Salt Lake City for Amsterdam and had reached the Montana-North Dakota boundary before safely returning to Salt Lake City as one of the engine pylon panels had fallen off on takeoff, the Associated Press (AP) reported. It was not immediately clear how the pilots learned of the missing part, but Delta acknowledged there was “a reported mechanical issue” with the two-aisle Airbus jet, according to the report.

Delta reportedly apologized to the passengers for the delay caused by the incident.

The airplane had gained a cruising altitude of 35,000 ft (10,668 m) and had been in the air for just over an hour when it aborted its flight to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, according to Simple Flying. The flight crew reportedly did not alert the passengers of the incident as the airplane turned around and made its way back to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC).

The widebody jet reportedly has not flown since returning to SLC nearly three hours after takeoff. A similar Delta Air Lines Airbus jet replaced the affected jet and completed the flight to Amsterdam, according to Simple Flying. The substitute airplane was also scheduled to fly passengers from Schiphol Airport to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport, again replacing the affected airplane. (RELATED: United Airlines Boeing 737 Panel Falls Off During Flight)

The incident marked at least the third time in as many months that a U.S. airplane lost a panel, according to AP.

A United Airlines Boeing 737 flying from San Francisco landed at its destination in Oregon Friday before it reportedly was found to have lost a panel. Another United Airlines airplane, this time a Japan-bound Boeing 777-200, lost a tire soon after taking off from San Francisco Mar. 7, in the same week when a Boeing flight experienced an engine fire and another suffered an engine failure.

Another  United Airlines Boeing jet reportedly landed in Denver, short of its intended destination of Boston, late Feb. as one of its wings appeared frayed and damaged.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max-9 infamously lost its plug door in mid-air early Jan.

Meanwhile, a Detroit-bound international Delta Airlines flight returned to Schiphol Airport mid-Feb. as an overhead bin containing rotten fish spilled maggots onto passengers in mid-flight.

The various airplane incidents raised regulatory hackles and appeared to prompt boardroom shakeups, while a whistleblower was found dead in an alleged suicide.