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Two passengers sue United Airlines after Boeing 777 engine catches fire in mid-air

·2-min read

Two passengers are suing United Airlines after the engine of the plane they were on caught fire in mid-air.

Joseph McGinley and Jonathan Strawn say they have suffered personally, emotionally and financially as a result of the incident on 20 February.

They have filed separate lawsuits in Chicago, where the airline is based, and are seeking damages of more than $500,000 (£361,000) each.

The pair were on board the United flight from Denver to Honolulu when its engine blew up and sent debris raining down on the city of Broomfield, 25 miles away from where it took off in Colorado.

Passengers said they feared the Boeing 777 would crash and they would die after seeing the explosion and a flash of light.

Videos posted on Twitter at the time showed the plane flying low over Broomfield with pieces of the aircraft falling to the ground.

Announcing the lawsuits on Friday, Chicago attorney Robert A Clifford said: "Imagine as a passenger looking out the window of a plane and helplessly watching the engine on fire. The terror you experience lasts a lifetime."

Mr Clifford's firm is also representing the families of 72 of the passengers who died when a Boeing 737 MAX crashed in Ethiopia in 2019.

The UK has temporarily banned any Boeing 777s that use the same engine as the one that caught fire in Colorado.

No one on board the plane or on the ground was injured, despite the debris crushing a truck and narrowly missing a house.

All 231 passengers and 10 members of crew were safely returned to Denver airport after an emergency landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the engine failure but has said that a microscopic examination supports early suspicions that wear and tear caused a fan blade to snap inside it.