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Container sucked into jet engine at LAX

May 12, 2009 6:55:54 AM PDT
Federal investigators are taking a look at a Japan Airlines plane that was forced to return to an LAX terminal after a metal baggage container got sucked into an engine on Monday.Passengers aboard the flight pulled out cameras and cell phones to snap pictures of the bizarre incident.

Japan Airlines flight 61 was headed to Narita with 245 passengers on board, but it never left the ground.

The jet was pulling out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal when a baggage cart was wheeled by the left wheel of the jet at the same time.

The four engines on a Boeing 747 create a powerful suction as they draw in air, so powerful that one engine sucked in an empty metal luggage container right off the cart. The container measures 5 feet by 5 feet by 4 feet.

A passenger on the flight said no one on board had noticed anything unusual until they had taxied on to the tarmac, when they were surrounded by emergency vehicles, warning the plane not to take off.

This is a point in the flight procedure when the ground operations have control, not the tower.

Passengers had a long wait before the airline could figure out what to do, and they reportedly had to complain before water was handed out.

It was hours before passengers were rebooked on other flights.

The jet was towed to a hangar, as FAA officials investigate the incident.

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