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FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2021, file photo, Virgin Orbit Boeing 747-400 rocket launch platform takes off from Mojave Air and Space Port, Mojave (MHV) on its second orbital launch demonstration of LauncherOne rocket in the Mojave Desert, north of Los Angeles. The Southern California-based Virgin Orbit said Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, it has signed an agreement to launch a pair of small satellites for a Polish company later in the year. The agreement with SatRevolution of Wroclaw, Poland, comes less than a month after Virgin Orbit conducted the first successful flight of its air-launched LauncherOne rocket. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman,File) (AP)
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2021, file photo, Virgin Orbit Boeing 747-400 rocket launch platform takes off from Mojave Air and Space Port, Mojave (MHV) on its second orbital launch demonstration of LauncherOne rocket in the Mojave Desert, north of Los Angeles. The Southern California-based Virgin Orbit said Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, it has signed an agreement to launch a pair of small satellites for a Polish company later in the year. The agreement with SatRevolution of Wroclaw, Poland, comes less than a month after Virgin Orbit conducted the first successful flight of its air-launched LauncherOne rocket. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman,File) (AP)

Boeing 747 cargo plane drops engine parts in Netherlands, probe launched

  • The Longtail Aviation Flight 5504 cargo plane scattered small metal parts over the southern Dutch town of Meerssen
  • Witnesses said they saw the fire in one of the engines of the plane, which landed safely at Liege airport in Belgium

An incident involving a Boeing 747-400 cargo plane that dropped engine parts shortly after take-off from Maastricht airport on Saturday is under investigation, the Dutch Safety Board said.

The Longtail Aviation Flight 5504 cargo plane scattered small metal parts over the southern Dutch town of Meerssen, causing damage to cars and lightly injuring one woman, local media said.

Boeing referred questions to Dutch authorities.

"Our investigation is still in a preliminary phase, it is too early to draw conclusions," a spokeswoman for the Dutch Safety Board said on Monday.

Witnesses said they saw the fire in one of the engines of the plane, which landed safely at Liege airport in Belgium, some 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Maastricht.

The cargo plane, which was supposed to fly from the Netherlands to New York, used a Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engine, a smaller version of one on a United Airlines Boeing 777 involved in an incident on Saturday.

Boeing said on Sunday that it was recommending airlines halt flights of some older, PW4000-powered versions of its 777 airliner pending engine inspections after the United 777 suffered an engine fire and scattered debris over Denver in the United States at the weekend.

Europe's EASA aviation regulator said on Monday that it was aware of the Pratt & Whitney jet engine incidents, and was requesting information on the cause to determine what action may be needed. (Reporting by Bart Meijer and Anthony Deutsch; editing by Susan Fenton, Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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