Boeing 747 engine catches fire, debris falls onto Dutch town

Shutterstock /John Lindsay-Smith

Shortly after taking off from Maastricht-Aachen airport, freighter Boeing 747-400 experienced engine fire resulting in debris falling on Meerssen, the Netherlands.

On February 20, 2021, Boeing 747 cargo plane took off from Maastricht-Aachen airport (MAA) in direction to JFK Airport in New York City, according to Longtail Aviation, the charter airline service that owns the plane. Shortly after, one of the four engines caught fire and fell onto Meerssen, a town in the Netherlands.

After the crew noticed the engine failure, with air traffic controller’s approval, they followed the procedures to divert the aircraft. The plane safely landed in Liège Airport, Belgium (LGG).

“Our flight crew dealt with this situation professionally and in accordance with the correct aviation standards, resulting in a safe and uneventful landing,” said Martin Amick, accountable manager for Longtail Aviation. “We are now in the process of working closely with the Dutch, Belgian, Bermuda and UK authorities to understand the cause of this incident.”

The metal parts that fell down in Meerssen injured two people and damaged several cars and houses, reported the local authorities. 


Longtail Aviation’s Boeing 747-400 freighter, registered as VQ-BWT, is 30 years old and was originally delivered to Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) in 1991, according to data. According to Cirium data the aircraft is fitted with Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines.

The Dutch Safety Board says it has commenced an “exploratory investigation” into the incident.

The incident was followed by a similar one on the same weekend. United Airlines Boeing 777-200, operating flight UAL328 to Honolulu, Hawaii, suffered an engine failure shortly after take off and was forced to return to Denver International Airport (DEN). During the brief flight, parts of one of the engines got scattered onto Denver.


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