FedEx Jet Drops Part of Engine in Poinsett County Field

APRIL 5, 2006 - Posted at 7:41 a.m. CST

OTWELL, AR - A large part of an engine from an MD-10 cargo jet operated by FedEx now sits in a farmer's field in northern Poinsett County.  A five or six-foot section of the engine's rear portion, apparently weighing more than a hundred pounds, plummeted from the sky yesterday afternoon and partially burried itself in the soil about 75 feet from U.S. 49.

The field where the engine section landed is near the community of Otwell, southwest of Jonesboro, about 70 miles northwest of the Memphis International Airport where the flight originated.  Company officials and emergency personnel at the scene said the engine section came from a plane that had left the Memphis airport on its way to Seattle.

FedEx's company headquarters are in Memphis.

State Police lieutenant Robert Speer said his agency got a phone call from a passing motorist about 4:30 p.m.  He said the caller started the conversation by saying, "You are not going to believe this."  State troopers, along with Poinsett County Sheriff Larry Mills and sheriff's lieutenant Chris Holt, quickly arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area.

Officials said the flight was about 50 miles into its journey when pilots on board notified air-traffic controllers of an in-flight emergency, and then reported they had lost their #3 engine.

Sandra Munoz, a FedEx spokeswoman at Memphis, said that the plane returned safely to the Memphis airport about 4:30 and that no injuries were reported.  She said the pilots followed routine on emergency landings, were given clearance to land and, once on the ground and stopped, evacuated from the plane using a slide.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)