Sixty people were treated after a plane dumped jet fuel while returning to Los Angeles International Airport.
Investigations have opened on why a Delta Air Lines pilot dumped engine fuel over five elementary schools and one high school near Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Flight DL89 destined for Shanghai, China suffered an engine problem soon after take off from LAX.
To make a safe emergency landing, the plane needed to dump its fuel to decrease its weight.
Radio transcripts of exchanges between the flight crew and controllers at LAX show the pilot being asked if he needed to dump fuel, to which he replied “negative.”
Tower: “Bring you back to LAX immediately or do you need to hold to burn fuel? You tell me what you need to do.”
Pilot: “We’ve got the engine – we’ve got compressor stall. We got it back under control. We’re going to come back to LAX. We’re not critical.”
Tower: “Ok, so you don’t need to hold or dump fuel or anything like that?”
Pilot: “Negative, we’ll be request runway 25R.”
However, according to reports, the fuel was already dumped, dousing dozens of children.
20 children and 11 adults at Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy were reportedly exposed to the fuel on the playground and treated for skin irritation and inhalation complaints.
The LA County Fire Department also reported treating patients at Tweedy Elementary, Graham Elementary, and San Gabriel Elementary.
“These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomises and disperses before it reaches the ground,” according to the FAA.
It is very rare fuel is dumped at a lower altitude where it reaches the ground.