‘You couldn’t breathe it was so bad’: Eyewitnesses describe horror of LA jet fuel dump which soaked school children
A Delta Airlines flight bound for Shanghai experienced mechanical problems which forced the plane to turn around to LAX and make an emergency landing. The aircraft was too low to safely dump fuel and as a result a total of six schools in the Cudahy area of Los Angeles county were doused with aerosolized jet fuel.Also on rt.com At least 60, incl. children, injured after Boeing 777 dumps fuel on elementary school outside Los Angeles
Fuel dumping should almost never be released above populated areas except in the most extreme of circumstances. The incident resulted in 60 patients being treated for various injuries, at least 20 of whom were children.
“It was kind of right next to me,” passenger Tim Lefebvre said, describing the emergency on board the aircraft, “I knew that wasn’t good.” Lefebvre added that the pilot told passengers not to worry if they saw fire trucks on the runway when the plane landed.
Park Avenue Elementary School sixth grader Josue Burgos was playing with his classmates outside during physical education class when he noticed something was wrong.
“We came out and we were playing, and the airplane was outside and we thought it was rain, but then we knew it was throwing gas on us, and everybody started to run,” the school kid said. “We went to the auditorium and we knew what happened. We went back to class. We stayed for one hour and then we went home.”
No one could foresee a fuel dump taking place over a populated area, and parents were as dumbfounded as their kids.
“I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, and I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew it was gas or something toxic,” parent Freddie Contreras said.
“You couldn’t breathe it was so bad. It’s still strong, but not as bad as it was,” said Park Avenue parent Francisco Javier.
Teachers found themselves in one of the worst possible situations imaginable, as their safety training didn’t cover an unexpected emergency fuel dump affecting their classes of schoolkids. “They were anxious to get home and shower because the stench was very strong,” explained Antonio Buenabad, area representative for the United Teachers Los Angeles union.
The upsetting incident even left local politicians dumbfounded. “I’m very upset,” newly-appointed Cudahy Mayor Elizabeth Alcantar said in an interview. “This is an elementary school, these are small children.”
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