An veteran United Airlines pilot is being praised for keeping passengers calm as he safely landed a jet after its engine caught fire out following takeoff in Denver, Colorado. Among those on the Hawaii-bound flight were Barbara and Ed Underwood.
"The captain did come on, and he said that we were gonna make a landing, just a normal landing. So, it was kind of a relief for everyone just to hear him talk and be calm,” Barbara told Inside Edition.
The couple captured alarming video showing the charred and exposed engine outside their seat window. Fellow passenger Brett Guy shot another video showing the smoldering engine from his seat. He also praised the pilot’s calm demeanor.
“He did say it would just be a normal landing, differentiating between an emergency and a normal landing. Which to me, I took that as, OK, everything's cool. We don't need to freak out, everything's going to be OK.”
There were cheers of relief when the plane and its 231 passengers safely landed in Denver.
The pilot, who has not been identified, was hired by United in 1990. He is based in San Francisco and has 20,000 hours of flying experience.
Aviation experts are calling the accident "an uncontained and catastrophic engine failure." They say the pilot and co-pilot are trained to immediately shut off anything flammable in the engine, including fuel and hydraulic fluid.
Debris from the engine landed on homes and streets outside Denver, triggering a slew of 911 calls.
“I stood up and looked outside and opened up the door and turned to my wife and said, ‘Oh, that's the front cowling of an engine from an airplane.’ And she goes, ‘What!’” one resident told Inside Edition.
Authorities have asked anyone who finds debris from the plane not to touch it so it remains in place for the investigation.