Residents in the vicinity of Newark International Airport were complaining about the smell of gas Sunday afternoon after a Boeing 777 dumped 170,000 pounds of jet fuel into the air while preparing for an emergency landing. The plane, carrying 269 passengers bound for Tokyo, returned to the airport less than an hour after takeoff yesterday because of a "hydraulic problem." But before it could touch down, it needed to lighten up by emptying its fuel tanks over the Garden State.
"By ‘dumping,’ it does not come gushing out of the plane," an FAA spokesman tells NJ.com. "It comes out in a mist, which evaporates in the air." But residents of several Somerset County communities called the police because they were concerned about the odor. The DEP says they're going to "take a look" at the incident, but a spokesman insists "there is no known health risk or danger." One local tells WCBS, "I don't know, call me old-fashioned, but something about it makes me think it might not be too great for you."
Continental claims the plane "blew a tire" on take-off, and no one was injured during the emergency landing. One passenger, who fell asleep immediately after take off, says, "I wake up, everybody was clapping. What’s the plane doing? Landing—in New Jersey." Welcome back, and please excuse the smell.