Children Injured After Delta Airplane Drops Jet Fuel on California Schools

44 people, at least 22 children, were injured after a plane returning to LAX dropped jet fuel over nearby elementary schools.
Derya Ozdemir

On Tuesday, at least 44 people were injured due to a Delta airplane dumping jet fuel before making an emergency landing to the Los Angeles International Airport, officials said.

Apparently, reported injuries occurred after a substance landed around Park Avenue Elementary School in Cuhady, before 12 p.m. local time. Students and staff were on the playground during break time.

It is not clear whether they inhaled the fumes or were sprayed by fuel. Paramedics were immediately called to the scene after the accident and people with skin irritation or breathing problems were treated. 


Other schools such as San Gabriel Avenue Elementary, Graham Elementary, and Tweedy Elementary were also affected by the accident.

The substance was tested by the deployed hazmat units. It was apparently jet fuel. 

All of the reported injuries were minor, and luckily, a trip to the hospital wasn’t needed for anyone.

The aircraft Delta 777-200 was responsible for the accident, and it apparently experienced an engine-related issue, requiring it to return quickly to LAX. The flight, which was en route from Los Angeles to Shanghai, landed without a problem after the fuel was released. In order to reach a safe landing height, this procedure was needed.

While it is rare, dumping fuel is not a bizarre practice. It isn’t safe to land with a tank full of fuel, which means that dumping it is very crucial in situations like this. Still, pilots are deterred from dumping fuel over populated areas. The normal procedure would be dumping the fuel at a high altitude. Doing so would dissipate the fuel before it reached the ground.

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Luckily, the hazard was eluded without anyone having a major injury, and an evacuation order wasn’t needed. 

The Federal Aviation Administration states it will “thoroughly investigate the circumstances behind the accident."

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