EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Boeing Company said it recommended suspending the use of 777 jets with the same type of engine that shed debris over Denver this weekend after U.S. regulators announced extra inspections and Japan suspended their use while considering further action.
The moves involving Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines came after a United Airlines 777 landed safely at Denver International Airport on Saturday after its right engine failed.
Planes powered by that same engine that came apart mid-air are now under the microscope. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered inspections of Boeing 777 jets that use the engine.
Investigators are now searching for a key piece of evidence to determine what caused the engine to fail: a fan blade that broke in two. Experts said finding the other piece is critical.
“The really important piece to get back would be that fan blade or the piece of the fan blade, because you’d like to have two sides of the failure,” said Tom Haueter, ABC News Contributor and former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator.
In a statement, Pratt & Whitney:
“Pratt & Whitney is actively coordinating with operators and regulators to support the revised inspection interval of the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines that power Boeing 777 aircraft. Pratt & Whitney will continue to work to ensure the safe operation of the fleet.”
Officials said 231 passengers were on board as debris was scattered across a residential neighborhood. No one was hurt.
The NTSB is leading this investigation.
Pratt & Whitney has deferred any further updates on where things stand to the NTSB.