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Cargo plane’s engine catches fire, dropping debris that injures two people in a Dutch town

Two people were injured after pieces of a cargo plane broke off and fell onto a town in the Netherlands, according to authorities there.

Pieces of metal fell on the town of Meerssen after a Boeing 747 cargo plane experienced an engine fire shortly after taking off from Maastricht, according to the Veiligheidsregio (the Dutch regional safety inspector) and Maastricht Aachen Airport (MAA).

The Boeing 747-400 freighter plane was bound for JFK Airport in New York City, according to Longtail Aviation, the charter airline service that owns the plane.

The plane’s crew noticed an engine issue shortly after takeoff, Longtail Aviation said in a statement to CNN. The crew “followed correct procedures to investigate the problem,” the airline said.

“Resulting from this, the decision was made, with air traffic approval, to divert to Liège Airport, Belgium, where it landed safely,” the airline said.

“Our flight crew dealt with this situation professionally and in accordance with the correct aviation standards, resulting in a safe and uneventful landing,” said Martin Amick, accountable manager for Longtail Aviation. “We are now in the process of working closely with the Dutch, Belgian, Bermuda and UK authorities to understand the cause of this incident.”

As a result of the engine problems, metal parts fell down in Meerssen in the Sint Josephstraat area, the Veiligheidsregio (safety inspector) said.

Two people were slightly injured. One of them was taken to a hospital, the safety inspector said. Several cars and houses were also damaged, the safety inspector added.

MAA said in a statement that the plane was carrying “general cargo and pharmaceuticals on board.”

“A few seconds after the plane took off, air traffic control noted an engine fire and informed the pilots. They then switched off the engine concerned and sent out an emergency signal,” MAA said.

MAA said the pilot chose to land at Liège due to its longer runway, which provided the plane with more space to land safely.

“We understand that people are shocked and regret that this has happened,” MAA said. “Our attention now primarily focuses on those directly involved in this incident.”

The cargo plane is registered as VQ-BWT, according to CNN Belgium affiliate HLN-VTM Nieuws.

Longtail Aviation is based in St. George’s, Bermuda, and was formed in August 1999, according to its website. Longtail offers worldwide charter services, cargo support, aircraft management and acquisition sales, the website said.

Boeing spokeswoman Jessica Kowal told CNN in a statement they were following news of the incident and referred CNN “to the Dutch Safety Board” for any information about the incident.

News of the cargo flight’s emergency landing comes on the heels of a similar incident in the United States on Saturday.

A United Airlines flight was forced to return to Denver International Airport after it suffered an engine failure shortly after takeoff, sending aircraft debris raining down on a suburb. The Boeing 777-200 safely returned to the Denver International Airport and no one was injured.

Boeing said in a statement to CNN Saturday night that company technical advisers are supporting the NTSB with its investigation into that flight.





  1. “News of the cargo flight’s emergency landing comes on the heels of a similar incident in the US on Saturday.”
    Actually not very similar at all, from what I’ve read. This one was a fire contained in the engine, while the Denver one was an uncontained explosion that destroyed one of the engines. But it’s not good press for Boeing to have two of their planes experience engine problems in as many days.

    1. I stand corrected. This 747 apparently used the same Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines as the United 777 flying out of Denver. So two catastrophic engine failures in two days should be reason enough to immediately ground all planes using those engines.

      1. So the Federal Government, specifically the FAA, allows these corporations to make their airplanes but the FAA does not actually conduct the testing of the airplanes built. The FAA expects these corporations to self regulate. Well now we have 2 separate instances where we’ve seen the tragic end to that 737 MAX and now the 777 and 747.
        Does the FDA do the same process with medications as the FAA does with airplanes?
        Who is holding these corporations accountable so this doesn’t happen before the damage is already done?
        This same governmental oversight is what causes my hesitation in trusting our government and big pharma in relation to the CO-VID Vaccine.
        What’s the old adage phrase, “Fox guarding the henhouse.”

    2. Not good press for Boeing, but even worse press for Pratt & Whitney. These incidents bring into question the reliability of these engines, particularly since they appear to have unique hollow fan blades.

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