United Airlines Grounds Plane After Passengers Spot Fuel Gushing Out
Just about the last thing anyone wants to see before they take off on a long-haul transatlantic flight is fuel gushing out of the wing of an aircraft. But, that’s exactly what happened to a few passengers onboard a United flight earlier this week that was about to take off from Newark, New Jersey, to Italy.
“I’m sitting looking out window at the wings, and all of a sudden fuel started shooting out of the wing really really hard,” Rachel Brumfield, a newlywed en route to a Mediterranean cruise for her honeymoon with her new husband, told the New York Post. “It was huge — it looked like a fire hose.”
The couple alerted the crew to the issue, which was clearly visible outside their window, however, it apparently took cabin crew members a few minutes to take the couple seriously.
“I will never fly United again,” Brumfield said. “Every person there was awful.”
According to Brumfield, her husband Mike rushed up and down the plane’s aisle looking for a crew member. When he first alerted them to the potential problem, Brumfield says a crew member just “yelled” at him to sit down.
“He’s like, ‘But something’s not right.’ They said, ‘Is it an emergency?’ He said, ‘I don’t know,’ so they said, ‘Go sit down.’ They said, ‘Everything’s normal,’” Brumfield said.
Once a crew member took the time to peek out the window they spotted the true issue and rushed to the cockpit to inform the pilot. The flight was immediately canceled.
United released a simple statement, never mentioning the couple, which read:
“While taxiing to the runway yesterday evening, United flight 170 traveling from Newark to Venice, Italy returned to the gate due to a fuel leak, and was later cancelled. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience. Our team helped provide customers with hotel accommodations for the night and are working to get them back on their way to Venice today.”