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Jetliner dumps fuel onto Southern California school playground; 60 students & staff injured

An aerial view of the school (left) and the plane dumping fuel (right).
via KABC
An aerial view of the school (left) and the plane dumping fuel (right).

CUDAHY, California — Jet fuel dumped by an aircraft returning to Los Angeles International Airport fell onto an elementary school playground Tuesday afternoon, fire officials said.

Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics treated 60 people including elementary school students who complained of skin irritation, KABC-TV reported, but no one was transported to the hospital.

School officials said students and staff were on the playground when they may have been sprayed or inhaled fumes around noon. Paramedics were immediately called and staff members visited every classroom to check on students and staff, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District.

There were no evacuation orders issued for the immediate area. During the noon hour, numerous police and emergency vehicles were at the school, which is located about 13 miles miles east of Los Angeles.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that Delta Air Lines Flight 89 declared an emergency after departing Los Angeles International Airport, returned to the airport and landed without incident.

There are special fuel-dumping procedures for planes that fly in or out of U.S. airports, according to a statement issued by the FAA.

"These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground," the FAA stated. It was investigating the incident.

The flight tracking website FlightAware shows the flight was headed to Shanghai, China; it departed LAX and circled back over Southern California before returning to the airport.

Delta Airlines issued the following statement: "Shortly after takeoff, Flight 89 from LAX to Shanghai experienced an engine issue requiring the aircraft to return to LAX. The aircraft landed safely after an emergency fuel release to reduce landing weight."

Article Topic Follows: US & World

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