A large metal baggage container was sucked into the engine of a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 on Monday as the giant jetliner prepared to depart with 245 passengers from Los Angeles International Airport, authorities said.
The accident occurred about 1:30 p.m. when Flight 61 to Narita, Japan, pulled back from Gate 101 at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Airport officials said the vacuum created by the air intake of the left outboard engine was so strong it pulled the empty container off a baggage cart that was either parked or driven too close to the aircraft.
The metal box, which is used by airline baggage handlers to haul luggage to and from aircraft, measures approximately 5 feet by 5 feet by 4 feet.
Officials said the container became lodged in the engine's housing.
Japan Airlines took the crippled 747-400 out of service and made other flight arrangements for the passengers and 18 crew members, who were returned to the Bradley terminal. The airplane, which has four engines, was towed to a hangar for inspection.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident, said Ian Gregor, an agency spokesman. Japan Airlines could not be reached for comment.
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