Engine Blowout, Not Birds, Forced Flight Back to JFK

FAA investigators say Engine 1 on a Delta flight to Moscow failed on Sunday, forcing pilots to fly back to Kennedy Airport using Engine 2. The Boeing 767 escaped serious damage, and avoided a possible crash, when turbine blades from inside the damaged engine shot into the air but missed the fuselage of the plane. It's unknown if the first engine caught fire at any point.

The flight left JFK Sunday afternoon and was in the air for an hour and twenty minutes before landing around 6 p.m.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac didn't name a cause for the engine failure. But she did say investigators found no blood or feathers on the engine, allowing them to rule out “evidence of a bird or birds or any remains of a bird."

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said there was no indication of negligence by the airline or the pilots. “Nothing like that at all,” he said. “It’s uncommon to have this kind of event but they do happen. What the airline will do is they will examine it further and they’ll report to us.”

He added that the cause of the engine failure was probably mechanical: “There’s nothing to suggest anything other than a mechanical breakdown of the engine at this point.”