KX News News spoke with a Wishek woman whose family landed safely in Hawaii overnight after an emergency landing in the Denver, Colorado suburbs Saturday.
The United Airlines Boeing 777-200 headed from Denver to Honolulu with 231 passengers and 10 crew aboard suffered a catastrophic failure in its right engine, and flames erupted under the wing as the plane began to lose altitude.
Brenda Dohn, her husband, and three kids from Wishek were aboard, headed on a last-minute family vacation. Dohn says what started as a smooth take-off, quickly turned into a turbulent one in the clouds.
She and her family could see debris, sparks and “balls of fire” fly outside their windows.
“It almost felt like it was an explosion. It was a boom and it was a big boom, not something small. You knew something had happened, it was an absolute,” Dohn described.
“Immediately I did scream. I will admit, I did scream. There were a couple of other people that yelped and kinda screamed. You know, it’s that initial terror, that initial fright, where you’re hearing people say, ‘What’s happening? Why me? This is not the way I wanted this to end,'” she shared.
“You know, all those things, and so my daughter, I realized she was scared and she said, ‘Mom, don’t scream’, and she grabbed on me and I just said, ‘It’s going to be okay.'”
Dohn says the flight crew kept everyone calm with continuous communication through the about four minutes that it took for the plane to land back at Denver International Airport.
Authorities say no one on board or on the ground was hurt.
Sunday, U.S. regulators announced extra inspections of Boeing 777 jets with this same type of engine.
The Dohn family is now enjoying their vacation in Hawaii.