Engine turbine disk had ‘fatigue' crack before O'Hare plane fire

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Investigators say an American Airlines engine part broke into four pieces before the plane caught fire on the tarmac of O’Hare International Airport last week, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The right engine’s stage 2 high-pressure turbine disk fractured into at least four pieces, according to a news release the National Transportation Safety Board issued on Friday.

One of the fractures was “consistent with fatigue cracking,” according to the NTSB. The turbine disk had 10,984 cycles, out of an expected life of 15,000 cycles.

About 2:35 p.m. on Oct. 28, American Airlines Flight 383 aborted takeoff after an “uncontained engine failure” led to fuel pooling under the plane’s right wing. That fuel caught fire soon after.

Though no fire breached the cabin, about 20 people on the Boeing 767 were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, and all had been discharged by the night of Oct. 29, NTSB Lorenda Ward previously said.

One piece of the turbine disk went through the inboard section of the right wing, over the fuselage and into a UPS warehouse facility more than a half mile away, according to the NTSB.

Another piece was found about 1,600 feet away, but it was still on O’Hare property, Lorenda Ward, the lead investigator, told reporters last week.

Investigators in Chicago plans to finish work this weekend, according to the safety board.

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