FAA Probing Flight by Damaged Airliner

Associated Press

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the flight of a Continental Airlines jetliner that flew from New York to Denver after sustaining damage to the rear of the fuselage on takeoff.

The Boeing 727, which landed safely at Denver after Thursday's Flight 461, was taken out of service and the crew temporarily removed from flight duty, FAA and Continental officials said Friday.

Continental spokesman Mike Cinelli said the pilot suspected some damage had occurred at the rear of the plane when he heard a noise as he applied power for the takeoff.

It was snowing at the time, with visibility of about half a mile, and the pilot decided against returning to New York's La Guardia Airport because of the poor weather, Cinelli said.

"There was never any problem in terms of the passengers. If there had been, you can be guaranteed the pilot would have turned back. It was safer to go on to Denver instead of going back to New York," he continued.

FAA spokesman Fred Farrar said that when Flight 461 took off from La Guardia, it sustained damage to the rear staircase area of the fuselage and the outside and thrust reverser of its No. 2 engine.

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