A Delta Airlines jet flying from Los Angeles to Shanghai on Tuesday was forced to make an emergency landing at LAX - and dumped jet fuel on the city, including on children playing outside at Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy.
The flight, Delta Air Lines Flight 89, had been en route from Los Angeles to Shanghai. There was some technical problem in this aircraft, due to which the landing of that aircraft was done safely through the fuel dumping process at Los Angeles.
"We have a Boeing triple 7, call sign Delta 89, reporting a compressor stall, 181 souls on board, 12 hours of fuel, ETA less than five minutes", an LAFD firefighter said.
The internet was quickly clogged with people questioning the decision and suggesting that the pilot could have shut down the engine, retained the fuel and landed with one working engine at some risk of damage to the plane.
Pilots generally notify air traffic control of the need to dump fuel and are directed to an area where they can safely do so.
"Most pilots choose not to dump fuel unless the emergency really dictates it", Aimer said.
The school district said that educators visited classrooms to ensure that all the children and staff members are safe.
Representatives of the district's Office of Environmental Health and Safety and Los Angeles School Police also responded to the school. None had to be transported. Those patients received minor injuries only and did not require transport to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Los Angeles School Police said students were dismissed for the day at 93rd Street Elementary, but classes resumed at Jordan High School, where students were dismissed at 3 p.m.
All the schools were cleaned overnight and reopened Wednesday.
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The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement on Twitter saying that they are investigating the incident. "These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground".
Dumping fuel is part of a procedure during an emergency landing.
Fuel spurted into two wing streams and fell at noon in the city of Cudahy and neighboring parts of Los Angeles County, about 13 miles east of the airport.
Delta said it was in touch with the airport and Fire Department and shared "concerns regarding reported minor injuries to adults and children". Affected people at the school were treated for skin and eye irritation.
If odors remain on clothing after washing, they should be discarded. "Some exposed individuals have experienced mild symptoms such as skin irritation and upper respiratory irritation such as cough", the department said in a statement.
Some teachers at Park Avenue had headaches from the smell, said Antonio Buenabad, area representative for the United Teachers Los Angeles union.
While the impacted schools have been scrubbed down, neighboring properties have not been.
"All outdoor lunch tables, outdoor play equipment, drinking fountains and playground surfaces were washed".
Injuries were also reported at other Los Angeles County elementary schools: six at San Gabriel Ave Elementary in South Gate, Calif.; six at Tweedy Elementary School in South Gate, Calif.; and one adult at Graham Elementary School in Florence-Graham, Calif., according to the fire department.