FAA investigating after Delta jet dumps fuel on schoolkids near Los Angeles

CUDAHY, Calif. (AP) - Federal authorities will investigate why an airliner with engine trouble dumped jet fuel over a densely populated area of Southern California while making an emergency return, dousing dozens of schoolchildren in a smelly vapor.

Fire officials say fuel apparently dumped by an aircraft returning to Los Angeles International Airport fell onto an elementary school playground Tuesday. (Source: KABC via CNN)

Delta Air Lines Flight 89 to Shanghai turned back to Los Angeles International Airport only minutes after taking off Tuesday. The pilot reported a stalled engine compressor, which can reduce thrust.

The plane dumped fuel to reduce weight for a safe landing. The mist of jet fuel fell on several schools in the area.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department says 56 children and adults had minor skin and lung irritation, but nobody was hospitalized.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it will investigate. The agency says procedures call for fuel-dumping over unpopulated areas. However, aerospace expert Doug Moss says pilots can deviate from those rules for safety reasons.

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