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Cause of Engine Difficulty Unclear in Emergency Royal Dutch Airliner Landing in L.A.

Aired August 28, 2000 - 1:07 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: It's not yet clear what caused several pieces of a Boeing 747, one the size of a dishwasher, to fall to the ground shortly after takeoff yesterday from the Los Angeles International Airport.

CNN's Jennifer Auther has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JENNIFER AUTHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The KLM Royal Dutch airliner had 449 passengers aboard. It was bound for Amsterdam when, less than a minute after takeoff from Los Angeles International Airport, something went wrong.

SCOTT YOUNG, FLIGHT 602 PASSENGER: Shortly after takeoff, maybe 20 seconds or so, I heard a kind of an explosion in the right engine and I was on the right side of the plane. And then I smelled smoke.

FRANCOISE ARJAANS, FLIGHT 602 PASSENGER: There was a great big noise at the bottom of the plane and it was an awful noise. It was very scary, and they told us it was normal.

AUTHER: At least two engine parts from the 747 were found at nearby Dockweiler State Beach. An officer with the Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot reported engine problems. Then the plane circled over the Pacific Ocean, passengers say, for close to an hour, dumping fuel.

YANA ELZESSER, FLIGHT 602 PASSENGER: We began to panic. We were afraid, very afraid, because they didn't tell us what's wrong.

AUTHER: The National Transportation Safety Board is Investigating.

RICHARD PARKER, NTSB: The part I've identified here on the beach is what's called an exhaust nozzle. It's from the aft part of one of the four engines. I don't know which one.

AUTHER: Dr. Klaus Mehlem, a passenger, says this is his third time he's been aboard a jetliner forced to dump fuel.

KLAUS MEHLEM, FLIGHT 602 PASSENGER: You cannot land with all that fuel. It's too heavy. And these guys did a perfect job, a standard procedure, so I was not scared at all.

AUTHER: No injuries reported, just a bunch of shaken nerves and hundreds of people thankful for a safe landing.

Jennifer Auther, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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