Expert: Uncontained 777 engine failure was severe

An investigation is underway to find out what caused an engine to fail on a Boeing 777 shortly after the United Airlines flight took off from Denver. (Feb. 22)

Video Transcript

[AIR BLOWING]

- This was an uncontained engine failure, and a fairly severe one at that, because we had the blades of the engine not only be compromised, but to detach, and fly, and hit the ground, in fact, in an urbanized area. All of that is scary stuff because the weight of these blades. Of course, the speed at which they hit the ground--

The maintenance and inspection crews apparently missed something. It appears to be, perhaps, a compounding problem-- just repeated use that should have been caught in inspections. But the damage here was severe enough that it really requires everyone to get a quick answer on what happened.

Pieces from this plane are retrieved. They try to reassemble the engine the best they can to see where the defects were. And that needs to be done quickly because there's debris, in some cases, spread everywhere.