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United Airlines plane loses wheel on takeoff in Los Angeles

Last Updated 7 days by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

(CNN) — A United Airlines plane lost a wheel while taking off Monday from Los Angeles International Airport, officials said, marking the latest issue this year for the airline, which was already the focus of a safety review by federal aviation officials.

The Boeing 757-200 that lost its wheel completed its planned flight to Denver, where it safely landed, United said. No injuries were reported on the ground.

Pilots of an Allegiant flight bound for Tulsa, Oklahoma, were the first to be heard on LiveATC.net reporting the wayward wheel as it bounced across runways and taxiways at LAX and radioed in their report to air traffic control.

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“A tire came off that 75 that took off, we saw it rolling down past bravo seven, bravo eight,” said the crew of Allegiant 2388.

Other pilots chimed into air traffic control in real-time, with the crew of another flight saying the tire crossed a parallel runway. Another pilot radioed the wheel had finally stopped near the airport’s southwest corner, about three-quarters of a mile from where it was first seen rolling away.

There were 174 customers and seven crewmembers on board, the airline said.

“The wheel has been recovered in Los Angeles, and we are investigating what caused this event,” the airline said in a statement. The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating.

The incident comes months after another United Airlines flight lost a wheel while taking off from San Francisco International Airport, damaging several cars in a parking lot.

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That plane, which was headed for Osaka, Japan, landed safely in Los Angeles, officials said at the time. No injuries were reported.

The incident was one of at least a dozen involving United Airlines flights in March, according to a CNN analysis, prompting CEO Scott Kirby to send a safety message to customers.

At the time, he said the incidents were “unrelated,” but “have our attention and have sharpened our focus.”

That same month, the FAA began a safety review of the airline, according to a memo from United.

“Over the next several weeks, we will begin to see more of an FAA presence in our operation as they begin to review some of our work processes, manuals and facilities,” United said in a memo to employees obtained by CNN. The review means an “even closer look at multiple areas of our operation to ensure we are doing all we can to promote and drive safety compliance.”

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In a statement at the time, the FAA said its “safety assurance system routinely monitors all aspects of an airline’s operation. It focuses on an airline’s compliance with applicable regulations; ability to identify hazards, assess and mitigate risk; and effectively manage safety.”

CNN’s Gregory Wallace, Samantha Delouya, Taylor Romine and Sara Smart contributed to this report.