Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Airplane's Engine Catches Fire Shortly After Takeoff

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Airplane's Engine Catches Fire Shortly After Takeoff


Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 6, 2019: Schools are closed and air travel has been interrupted by another winter storm that brought snow and ice to the Midwest; a coordinated effort resulted in a seizure of 35,000 pounds of cocaine from international waters by the U.S. Coast Guard; a Copa Airlines engine caught fire shortly after takeoff from Panama City forcing the plane to make an emergency landing; road closures from heavy snow and fallen trees has forced the closure of all roads within Yosemite National Park; scientists fear the collapse of the Thwaites Glacier is likely within 50-100 years after a huge void is found beneath the glacier; new technology revealed by IBM will help predict and prevent power outages and help with wildfire mitigation; the new atmospheric river scale will help emergency planners with water management; and a runaway freight train killed three crew members when it derailed in the Canadian Rockies on Monday.

  1. Shortly after takeoff on January 31, an engine on a Copa Airlines flight departing Panama caught fire, and recently acquired video caught by a passenger, shows yellow flames leaping out from under the wing. The flight, departing from Panama City's Tocumen International Airport, followed established emergency protocols and procedures and was able to return to the airport and land safely. An investigation into the incident, which may have been caused by a bird strike to the engine, has been launched by aviation officials.   
  2. Another winter storm wreaked havoc in Minnesota and Wisconsin, dumping at least a half a foot of snow on the Twin Cities, while areas in Wisconsin saw at least 10 inches of snow.  Chicago, Illinois, received freezing rain Tuesday into early Wednesday, delaying schools or forcing their closure altogether, while airlines issued travel waivers for multiple cities in the Great Lakes area due to the icy and snowy weather. The storm, which originated out West, then moved into the Midwest, will continue toward the Northeast Wednesday, and bring with it snow, ice, and flooding.  
  3. Six teams from the Coast Guard, in a coordinated interagency effort, seized nearly 35,000 pounds of cocaine from 21 vessels stopped in international waters in the Pacific Ocean. The drugs were seized from suspected drug smuggling vessels in waters around Mexico, and Central and South America, then offloaded in Port Everglades, Florida on Tuesday. The seizure was part of an interagency effort to address transnational criminal organizations, and Coast Guard officials noted that the value of seized drugs was an estimated $466 million.  
  4. Park officials announced on Tuesday that all roads within Yosemite National Park were closed because of heavy snow and fallen trees. Officials have requested that anyone within the park remain where they were to avoid being struck by falling trees, and also warned that Tioga Road is closed until at least May or June, which prevents entry to the park from the east. Sequoia and Kings Canyon are also receiving heavy snowfall and park officials caution that tire chains are required in most areas within these parks. They are also urging visitors to call ahead to learn of current conditions, weather, and any associated road closures.   
  5. Scientists have discovered a major void under the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica--a cavity that is nearly six miles long and 1,000 feet deep--prompting fears that the entire glacier is on the verge of collapse. NASA's Operation IceBridge--aircraft equipped with ice-penetrating radar--provided data, along with the data from numerous satellites, which led to the discovery of the huge cavity. Should the glacier collapse, it is likely to cause about a 2 foot sea-level rise that will inundate cities across the globe--a collapse scientists believe is likely to occur in about 50-100 years. 
  6. New technology to predict power outages was revealed by industry giant, IBM, on Wednesday. Using data collected from aerial flights, satellites, drones, weather models, and sensors, the system created by IBM predicts and monitors when and where vegetation and trees threaten power lines, helping energy suppliers to reduce outages and improve operations. In addition to identifying and predicting outage threats, an added benefit to the new system is its ability to also assist with grid reliability, storm management and assessment, and wildfire prevention.  
  7. Emergency planners now have help in determining the amount of precipitation that may be contained within atmospheric rivers that develop off the West Coast and move onto land each year. A new rating system for helping predict the moisture within an atmospheric river has been released by researchers--the atmospheric river scale--that ranks severity and impacts in a scale from 1 (weak) to 5 (exceptional). The new scale is in terminology that is easy to understand and will further help emergency planners by providing information that will assist them in knowing if they should release water from a dam ahead of an atmospheric river--to avoid stressing or overtopping dams.  
  8. Three crew members were killed Monday in Canada, when a runaway train derailed in British Columbia's Rocky Mountains. The Canadian Pacific Railway train had been parked for two hours at a station, to allow for a crew change, and the emergency air brakes were applied, when shortly after the new crew boarded the train, it began to move. The train, hauling 112 cars of grain, began to move through some of the most challenging terrain in the area, including steep grades and tight curves, exceeding its maximum track speed of 20 mph, before it derailed and killed all three crew members.   

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.