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‘Wing was destroyed’: Boston flight diverted after plane damage discovered mid-air

BOSTON — Passengers on a Boston-bound flight were happy to be on the ground Tuesday morning after the wing of their plane started “coming apart” in mid-air.

The United flight from San Francisco to Boston had to make an emergency landing in Denver, where passengers boarded a new plane.

Kevin Clarke landed at Logan Airport three hours later than he was scheduled. He told Boston 25 News he is just glad to be home safe after some nerve-wracking moments in the air.

“Just about to land in Denver with the wing coming apart on the plane,” Clarke said as he narrated his cell phone video of the plane touching the runway.

Clarke took the video of the United Boeing 757 plane showing the moment it touched down in Denver.

An aircraft maintenance crew then rushed over to the wing to inspect the damage.

United Flight 354 was carrying 165 passengers and was supposed to be flying into Boston, but had to be diverted after a portion of the wing was coming apart. Clarke told Boston 25 News he thought it was interesting when he was walking down the San Francisco jetway and saw bird strike forms.

“I’m like bird strike? That’s not good,” said Clarke. “We take off, I heard this loud buzzing noise, and then it faded away so I didn’t think much of it, and all of a sudden the pilot is coming back, so I threw my window open, peeked out the window and the whole leading edge of the wing was destroyed.”

Wing damage

Boston 25 News reached out to United and they told us United Flight 354 was diverted to address an issue with the slat on the wing of the aircraft.

“First there was some panic, but the pilot had come back, looked at it, took some pictures of it, talked to the guys on the ground, said yup, proceed to Denver, shouldn’t be a problem,” said Clarke.

Once in Denver, the passengers got onto a new plane. Everyone made it safely to Boston three hours later than scheduled. Clarke told Boston 25 News he thought United handled the situation well.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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