United Airlines flight forced to abort takeoff at Chicago O’Hare when engine catches fire

Coincidence or not, the focus this year on the airline industry’s embrace of diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI) initiatives, which essentially give minorities a leg up on white people — see discrimination — has lined up with a rash of safety-related incidents.

It may be too early to tell whether that’s the result of added scrutiny or if there are simply more mistakes being made, but it is fair to suggest that United Airlines has had its fair share of problems. It doesn’t help matters that a video emerged earlier this year that appeared to show embattled Unites Airlines CEO Scott Kirby dancing in drag.

On Memorial Day, a United Airlines flight had to abort takeoff from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after an engine caught fire.

Passenger Ivan Paloalto recorded a video of smoke streaming from the plane’s wing while it was on the runway.

“I felt the impact on my window. As I looked, the engine was on fire and smoke was coming out,” he said, according to ABC7 Chicago.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed that United Flight 2091 was about to take off around 2 p.m. when an engine caught fire, Fox News reported. The Airbus A320 was headed to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington.

The plane was reportedly towed back to a gate, with 148 passengers and five crew members evacuating.

Back in March, United Airlines was hit with a series of troubling maintenance issues within a week or so.

A United flight lost a tire shortly after taking off from San Francisco International Airport, with the tire landing in a nearby parking lot and damaging several vehicles. Another United flight incurred landing gear failure during an attempt to land at Houston Intercontinental Airport, resulting in the plane going off the runway. A United flight departing from Houston en route to Fort Myers, Florida, was forced to turn around after one of the plane’s engines caught fire over the Gulf of Mexico.

“I remember there was just this bright, flashing light that came through the window, and it sounded like a bomb went off, and then it was just a strobe of fire out the window,” passenger David Gruninger told KTRK.

“It was a very turbulent ride back, and it was a pretty harsh landing,” he added. “This is something I’ll remember every time I get on a flight now.”

During that same period, United had a US-bound Boeing 777-300 aircraft leak fuel upon takeoff from Sydney, Australia.

With airline travelers already jittery, a woman recorded an incident last month of a United pilot appearing to repair a plane window before take off.

The woman posted a clip on Instagram of the pilot’s actions, writing: “They are literally replacing a ‘window’ with all of us just chilling and sitting here waiting to take off?!?!?”

Tom Tillison

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