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An expert explains what would've happened if United flight 368 experienced its scary engine failure over the ocean

An expert explains what would've happened if United flight 368 experienced its scary engine failure over the ocean

A United Airlines Boeing 777.
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images




United Airlines flight 368 landed safely after experiencing an engine failure over Denver over the weekend.




Even if the engine failure had occurred over water while en route to Hawaii, the aircraft likely could have landed safely.




Wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 777 are rated to fly for more than five hours on a single engine.




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A United Airlines flight from Denver to Honolulu successfully executed a safe emergency landing on Saturday after suffering an fiery engine failure shortly after takeoff.Though debris spewed across Denver suburbs, the aircraft was able to quickly turn around and land back at Denver International Airport with no injuries or lives lost.The entire ordeal lasted less than 30 minutes since the failure occurred just miles from a major international airport. But as this aircraft was heading to Hawaii, there was a possibility that the aircraft could have lost its engine while flying high over the Pacific Ocean - with the nearest airport potentially hundreds of miles away. It's a scenario that regulators have feared since the beginning of the jet age. The guiding theory was that having more engines on a plane would help airliners make it to the nearest airport in the event of a failure. Three and four-engine planes like the Boeing 747, Douglas DC-8, and Lockheed L-1011, among numerous others, ruled oceanic skies for exactly that reason.
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