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San Francisco United flight bound for Boston diverted due to wing damage

United flight bound for Boston diverts because of issue with wing
United flight bound for Boston diverts because of issue with wing 00:52

A United flight heading from San Francisco to Boston was diverted to Denver Monday after the plane suffered visible damage to one of its wings, airline officials confirmed.

On Tuesday, United said that Flight 354 -- a Boeing 757-200 with 165 passengers aboard -- landed in Denver on Monday to "address an issue with the slat" on one of its wings. The plane landed safely. Passengers were put on a different plane and arrived early Tuesday morning in Boston.

Chicago-based United did not say what caused the damage to the plane's wing. A Boston television station broadcast a passenger's video showing the panel partially shredded.

A United flight to Boston was forced to divert to Denver because of a wing issue. Kevin Clarke

Slats are moveable panels on the front or leading edge of the wing and are used during takeoffs and landings.

The passenger who shared that video, identified as Kevin Clarke, said he had just put in earbuds and started to doze off when he felt the plane shaking.

"All of a sudden I heard this violent vibration like I had never heard before," Clarke said in an interview Tuesday.

Clarke said one of the pilots walked down the aisle of the main cabin, then returned to the cockpit and announced that the plane had minor damage to its right wing and the flight would be diverted to Denver.

The 67-year-old, a ski race announcer from Maine, was comforted that the pilot believed the plane was good enough to fly, but he began having doubts when the jet hit turbulence.

Clark began checking the wing repeatedly until he decided that he just couldn't look anymore.

"I was just going to pray that we made it to the other side of the turbulence," he said.

The incident came at a time of heightened passenger jitters after last month's blowout of a door panel on an Alaska Airlines jetliner flying over Oregon. A preliminary investigation attributed the blowout to missing bolts that helped secure a panel to the frame of a Boeing 737 Max 9.

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