Multiple children and adults at Park Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles were treated over complaints of skin irritation on Tuesday after a Delta flight dumped fuel during an emergency landing as they were outside on the playground, NBC Los Angeles reports. Although there have been conflicting reports about the number of people injured, BuzzFeed News, citing the LA County Fire Department, reported that 35 people, 20 of which were children, were injured in the incident.
"Students and staff were on the playground at the time and may have been sprayed by fuel or inhaled fumes," the Los Angeles Unified School District said in a statement. "Schools immediately called paramedics, who are on the scene and are treating anyone who is complaining of skin irritation or breathing problems."
Firefighters were called to the school, which is located 14 miles east of LAX, shortly after noon. Around that same time, Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement they were notified that Delta Air Lines Flight 89 needed to return over "an engine issue" just 24 minutes after departing from Los Angeles International Airport.
The airline confirmed that the plane, a Boeing 777 headed for Shanghai, released fuel on its way back to LAX in order to reduce its landing weight.
LATEST: At least 60 people treated, including about 20 school children, after passenger jet dumps fuel over Southern California as it prepared for emergency landing at LAX. https://t.co/CP2SpxU0jB pic.twitter.com/BUaji4yDyq— ABC News (@ABC) January 14, 2020
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, LAX spokesperson Heath Montgomery said, "There were no injuries on board and it was a normal return to the airport as far as we are concerned."
The FAA said in a statement that the plane's pilots were not directed where to drop the fuel. "The FAA is continuing to investigate the circumstances behind this incident," the statement said. Meanwhile, Delta said the plane had to "return quickly" to LAX because of an engine issue.
"The aircraft landed safely after a release of fuel, which was required as part of normal procedure to reach a safe landing weight," Delta added.