Passenger captures video of plane wing coming apart as United flight forced to land

Click to play video: 'United flight makes emergency landing after crew discovers wing damage'
United flight makes emergency landing after crew discovers wing damage
A United flight from San Francisco to Boston diverted when the crew discovered the slat on a wing was damaged. Video captured by a passenger shows the wing's state during the emergency landing – Feb 21, 2024

A United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Boston was diverted to Denver on Monday after the plane’s wing started coming apart mid-flight — and a passenger managed to capture footage of the unnerving issue.

Kevin Clarke pulled out his phone to record video of damage to the plane’s structure, which appeared to show the wing slat missing large chunks and beginning to separate from the rest of the wing.

“Just about to land in Denver with a broken wing on the plane,” Clarke can be heard saying in the video.

Clarke told WCVB that as the wheels lifted off in San Francisco, he felt an “incredibly strong vibration” and started to become worried about the plane’s shaking.

“All of a sudden I hear this loud vibration and noise that I’ve never heard from a plane before and it stopped within seconds and I’m like, well that’s good it stopped,” Clarke told ABC.

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He told the outlet that the plane’s pilot soon entered the cabin and checked out the wing from a window, before retreating back into the cockpit.

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“Minutes later, he comes on the PA system and announces that we’ve sustained some damage to the slat underneath the wing,” said Clarke.

Another passenger shared a photo of the damaged wing on Reddit mid-flight.

“Sitting right on the wing and the noise after reaching altitude was much louder than normal. I opened the window to see the wing looking like this,” user octopus_hug wrote. “How panicked should I be? Do I need to tell a flight crew member?”

There were 165 passengers on board the Boeing 757-200, which landed safely in Denver.

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“United Flight 354 was diverted to Denver yesterday afternoon to address an issue with slats on the aircraft’s wing,” the airline said Tuesday in a statement to NBC Boston.

“The flight landed safely and we arranged for another aircraft to take our customers to Boston,” it said.

Earlier this month, the head of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration vowed it would put more people in place to monitor aircraft manufacturing after a door panel blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft in January.

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