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Delta Accidentally Dumps Jetfuel on Kids at Recess

Delta Accidentally Dumps Jetfuel on Kids at Recess

Well, this is an unfortunate set of circumstances.

Yesterday, 17 children and 6 adults were treated after a Delta Air Lines Boeing 777 bound for Shanghai dumped fuel on an elementary school playground in Cudahy, California.

The incident happened just before noon while the children at Park Avenue Elementary School were playing outside. The plane overhead had just taken off from LAX when it began experiencing engine issues.

Those issues forced it to return to LAX. In order to do that safely, it had to release emergency fuel to reduce the plane’s weight. Local news station KTLA5 has captured this video that “shows what appears to be plane possibly dumping fuel:”



Unfortunately, the fuel that the plane released landed in Park Avenue Elementary’s playground and 23 people–17 elementary school children and 6 adults–were exposed to jet fuel.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that it plans to investigate the incident in this statement:

The FAA is thoroughly investigating the circumstances behind today’s incident involving a Delta Airlines flight that was returning to Los Angeles International Airport. There are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major U.S. airport.

These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground.

Thankfully, it does not look like anyone was seriously injured.

The students and adults complained of “minor” injuries and were triaged by the local paramedics and firefighters. No one needed to be taken to the local hospital and the area was not evacuated.


To read more on this story, head to KTLA’s website.

View Comments (3)


  1. arcticflier

    January 17, 2020 at 4:22 am

    Stuff happens.
    No one injured.

  2. edgewood49

    January 19, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    NO “stuff” does not happen in aviation. There is a clear and concise protocol for emergencies requiring dumping fuel. Read the cockpit conversation with the tower who twice asked if they needed to dump fuel negative both times and thats after just taking off, instead when they realized they had an issue they dumped below normals for fuel dumping and directly over a residential area. NO STUFF does not happen.

  3. mvoight

    January 20, 2020 at 10:11 am

    At some point the pilot decided they needed to dump fuel and fast, and without spending time relaying that info to ATC or getting to the standard altitude. I agree, there is a certain altitude for this as it will vaporize, but would you rather have the pilot crash the plane as an alternative. It is easy to arm chair quarterback after the event.

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