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United grounds 777s as FAA orders probe into Colorado engine failure

United Airlines has grounded 24 of its Boeing 777 jetliners after authorities ordered a probe into the Colorado engine failure.

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration announced an investigation into some Boeing 777s after a United plane suffered engine failure after taking off from Denver.

There were no injuries onboard but debris from the plane’s Pratt & Whitney engine was found under its flight path.

United has now voluntarily grounded only those 777s that are fitted with the same engine.

“We are voluntarily and temporarily removing 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines from our schedule,” said United in a statement on Twitter.

“We will continue to work closely with regulators to determine any additional steps and expect only a small number of customers to be inconvenienced.

“We remain proud of our employees’ professionalism and steadfast dedication to safety every day.”

The move came as Japan’s aviation regulator banned Boeing 777 jets if they have the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines.

“We reviewed all available safety data following yesterday’s incident,” said FAA administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement.

“Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes.”

The Boeing 777 being flown in the incident came into service in 1995 and was certified by the FAA through 2022, reports say.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, and issued an update on Sunday evening.

The Boeing 777 is being phased out by a number of airlines around the world, including Delta, who announced last May they were retiring the 18 in their fleet for newer and more fuel-efficient models.