Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nationwide Airlines Boeing 737-200 engine separates on takeoff

Nationwide Airlines B737 missing engineThis story gives a whole new meaning to the expression "lost an engine." The number two engine separated from a Boeing 737-200 shortly after rotation. The engine fell to the runway while the aircraft continued its climb-out. The aircraft returned to the field a short time later and landed safely. No one on board was injured.

The incident happened yesterday (November 7, 2007) at Cape Town, South Africa. The aircraft, operating as Nationwide Airlines Flight CE723, was taking off for a scheduled flight to Johannesburg when it literally lost an engine.

A press release about the incident on the front page of the Nationwide Airlines website claims that the engine separated after ingesting some as yet unidentified object:
It has been determined that during the take off roll an object which is yet to be defined was ingested into the engine which caused a catastrophic engine failure. The subsequent forces experienced by the engine supporting structure caused this to fail and for the number two engine to detach from the wing. The engine-to-wing supporting structure is designed to release the engine when extreme forces are applied to prevent any structural damage to the wing that may impair the aircrafts ability to fly.

We are currently working with authorities and investigators to establish what exactly the unidentified object was.
According to a news article about the incident on South Africa's, the commander of Nationwide Flight CE723 was Captain Trevor Arnold. The Independent Online quoted a passenger who had been on the flight who said that after the plane had come to a stop surrounded by fire engines, the captain walked into the cabin, and all the passengers cheered.

Congratulations to the Capt. Arnold and F/O Daniel Perry for their outstanding airmanship. Well done!

[Photo Source]