We know you have questions about the incident, and we will continue partnering with your community leaders to provide support. The following information is intended to help address the questions we have received most frequently.

Incident & Response

What happened?

Shortly after takeoff, Flight 89 from LAX to Shanghai experienced an engine failure. Leaning on their training, our crew declared an emergency and followed FAA-approved guidance, which requires an immediate landing at the nearest suitable airport, in this case LAX. On approach into LAX, the aircraft jettisoned fuel to decrease weight and ensure a safe landing. Some of that released fuel was reported in neighborhoods under the flight path, including some area schools. We immediately launched an internal investigation on the circumstances of the incident.

Is this being investigated?

Delta is thoroughly investigating the circumstances of this incident. The FAA, which oversees and regulates airline safety, has also launched its own investigation and has said they will share more information after they complete that process.

What actions have been taken to reach out to the affected community?

As soon as our aircraft was safely on the ground and we learned of the fuel release, Delta mobilized our response team to connect with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, leaders of the affected communities and area school officials to lend support. A team of Delta employees went to the affected schools Tuesday evening to view the sites and schedule cleanup crews.

The L.A. County Department of Health established 2-1-1 as the contact number for questions about health and safety, while Delta established a dedicated contact line for individuals and property owners who believe they may have been affected by the jet fuel release. That phone number is 800-441-5955, and both English and Spanish language agents are available to answer calls.

Delta also attended a town hall in Cudahy on Friday, Jan. 17, and in South L.A. on Friday, Jan. 24, to listen to the concerns of residents. Based on community feedback, Delta provided health screenings at AltaMed – South Gate from Jan. 23-31 for those concerned about exposure to jet fuel.

What was done to clean up?

Within hours of the incident, Delta dispatched 13 cleaning crews to work with LAUSD crews at 25 schools to clean any outside surface areas that students may encounter, as well as at several public parks in the area. The crews worked through the night and as a result, all LAUSD schools opened as scheduled the following morning.

What else is being done to support our community?

We are also working with local leaders to listen to the needs of the community and determine other actions. Taking care of the communities where we live and serve is one of our highest values, and we will work together to ensure the affected areas and residents receive the support they deserve.

Health & Safety

What can you tell us about the jet fuel?

Jet fuel delivered to commercial aircraft at LAX is obtained from a fuel farm and hydrant system operated by LAXFUEL, which is under contract with Los Angeles World Airports. We have provided representative Safety Data Sheets for Jet A fuel to L.A. County Department of Public Health, and these sheets include information on the composition of jet fuel.

What if I have questions about health effects associated with this incident?

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Department has stated: “Contact with jet fuel can cause skin irritation and/or upper respiratory irritation such as cough. These symptoms are generally expected to improve on their own. However, if you do feel like you are still experiencing a health-related issue, please contact a medical provider.” As the health experts in our community, the L.A. County Department of Public Health is best qualified to answer health questions and offer advice. The public health department has created an informational document to help answer the most common questions at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/JetFuel/. For questions or more information, call 2-1-1.

What should I do if jet fuel got in my yard, soil, plants, or grass? What about fruit trees?

Any jet fuel that reached the ground will not persist in soil, on plants, or on grass, but will evaporate when exposed to sunlight. Residents with outdoor vegetable gardens and fruit bearing trees should discard all unharvested produce. Fruits and vegetables grown in the future should be safe for consumption, according to the L.A County Department of Public Health.

Contact Information

How do I contact Delta to file a claim?

Individuals and property owners who believe they may have been affected by the jet fuel release can contact Delta at 800-441-5955.

Who do I contact if I have other questions?

  • Questions regarding health effects can be directed to the L.A. County Department of Public Health at 2-1-1.
  • Questions for Delta can be directed to 800-441-5955.