(LOS ANGELES) — At least 60 people, including both children and adults, were being treated after an aircraft dumped fuel over several schools in the Los Angeles area as it prepared for an emergency landing, according to authorities.
The group was being evaluated by firefighters and paramedics after the incident Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. There were no transports to the hospital, authorities said, and no evacuation orders for the area. Authorities said Los Angeles County Fire had 44 total patients and Los Angeles City Fire had 16 patients.
Los Angeles ABC station KABC said the fuel dump had occurred near Cudahy and South Los Angeles elementary schools.
A third school — Jordan High School — was also affected by the dump, according to the Los Angeles School Police Department.
Delta Airlines said in a statement Tuesday that shortly after takeoff flight 89 from Los Angeles International Airport to Shanghai — carrying 149 passengers and 15 crew on board — experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return to the airport. The plane started intentionally dumping fuel over the ocean shortly after takeoff around 7,000 to 8,000 feet, according to a Delta spokesperson.
When the plane was over the school area, the plane was at around 2,300 feet and was on final approach to the airport, a Delta spokesperson said.
“The aircraft landed safely after a release of fuel, which was required as part of normal procedure to reach a safe landing weight. We are in touch with Los Angeles World Airports and the LA County Fire Department and share concerns regarding reported minor injuries to adults and children at a school in the area,” the airline said.
The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that fuel dumping be done above 5,000 to 6,000 feet above ground level because at that altitude more than 90% of the fuel will have evaporated.
Although pilots reported a compressor stall to air traffic control, Delta could not confirm that. The airline said it was dispatching crews to assist first responders and hazmat crews.
The fire department said the substance sickening the students and adults was confirmed to be jet fuel.
The Federal Aviation Administration said that in a statement that it was aware of and looking into reports that children at a school east of the airport were being treated for fuel exposure.
The FAA said it was “thoroughly investigating” the incident.
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