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FAA investigates after tire falls off plane during takeoff

FAA investigates after tire falls off during takeoff - car in parking damaged after it was struck by the tire at SFO
Haven Daley/AP via CNN Newsource

The rest of the plane was diverted to Los Angeles where it landed safely.

By Taylor Romine, Gregory Wallace, and Sara Smart, CNN

(CNN) –The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a United Airlines flight that lost a tire while taking off from San Francisco International Airport, damaging several cars in a parking lot before the plane safely landed at Los Angeles International Airport, the agency said.

The plane “lost a portion of landing gear tire during takeoff,” around 11:35 a.m. Thursday as the flight departed for Osaka, Japan, the San Francisco airport’s spokesperson, Doug Yakel, told CNN. United Airlines confirmed the plane lost one tire after takeoff.

Thetire debris landed in an employee parking lot at the airport, Yakel said. Several cars were damaged but there were no reports of injuries, he said.

United flight 35, with 249 passengers and crew onboard, was diverted to Los Angeles and landed shortly after 1:20 p.m., the airline told CNN. A new aircraft was being arranged for those impacted.

“Do you guys know where that tire went?” an American Airlines pilot can be heard asking air traffic control after being informed of the incident as other flights were redirected, according to audio captured by

“No, so it’s probably going to be a few minutes for you guys,” the controller responded.

United identified the plane as a Boeing 777-200. It has six tires on each of its two main landing gear struts and was designed to land safely with missing or damaged tires, United said.

The San Francisco International Airport’s runway was briefly closed to clear debris but has since reopened, and there was no further impact to airport operations, Yakel said.

CNN’s Sharif Paget contributed to this report.

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