Plane Engine Goes Down in Broomfield & an Exclusive Interview with a Player who was at the Broomfield Commons Soccer Fields When it Happened

Lizzy Crawford

Photo Taken by Lauryn Munsch 

Who knew that just around the bend, Broomfield Colorado would be on national news for a nearly catastrophic event. 

Around 1pm on Saturday, February 20, people just going about their weekend in Broomfield noticed trash-like objects descending from the sky. Little did they know that these objects were much larger and heavier than pieces of trash, as they were actually charred pieces of a plane engine. 

The United Airlines’ Boeing 777 plane was roughly 30 miles out after departing from Denver International Airport (DIA) when the right wing engine caught fire, causing the passengers to panic. The plane headed to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, turned around above Broomfield and started heading back to DIA.

Spectators down below thought various things as to what these mysterious objects in the sky were. Lauryn Munsch, a student here at Horizon, was actually at the Broomfield Commons soccer fields for practice when the plane debris started to fall there. She discussed her perspective and how insane this experience was to witness firsthand:

“It was really overcast and cloudy, so we couldn’t see anything in the sky. But what clued us to look upwards was the fact that there was a loud boom. There were a couple of boys (lacrosse) teams and I thought that they had hit a car or something and were screwing around…but then they all started running over and telling us to look up and that’s when we saw the debris flying through the air.” Munsch discusses the initial sighting of the mysterious objects. 

“Initially it just looked like trash,” she said, “but then as it started falling, the first major piece that fell from the sky was that circular piece that has been on the news nationally. I saw and heard that one land directly over the houses and that’s when all the bigger pieces started falling.”

“Of course when it was in the air, it looked like maybe a foot long, nothing more. But when it falls right next to you and you realize it’s six feet long by like 3 feet wide, that’s when you’re realizing the severity of the case.” This is when she started to go from laughing to questioning what was really going on. 

She describes the actions they took to stay safe: “My team was in the direct center of the soccer complex and so my coach was like oh get your bags and put your bags above your heads and sit down.” Lauryn used this to describe how her coach told her and her teammates to put their bags above their heads when they were unaware of what was going down.


“When they,” Munsch said referring to the debris, “would fall, I think this was really interesting, it would bounce another 5 feet. That’s how fast and hard they were hitting the ground. Then my coach was like you guys need to get off the field, get to the gazebos. And in that process I was in a mixture of like laughing. It is hard to judge where the things would fall. You are just trying to deadbolt.”


“Everyone was in a shocked state,” she said. But once people had calmed down and made some sense of the situation, she described how a couple people were taking pieces of the debris as “souvenirs.”


In terms of how safe everyone on the soccer fields was and felt; no one had gotten hurt but people were worried about their cars. She also highlighted how she didn’t really grasp the intensity until after the event.


Then, they had started hearing the ambulances and firetrucks arriving: “The pieces that landed on the road, instead of moving them off, the firetrucks literally blocked the entire road off. So things were being shut down and frozen in place before I knew it basically.”


“In the moment, if I wouldn’t have been laughing so hard (she would have been more scared”…it was scary because you can’t look up and run so you are blindly running.” 


When asked if she knew what was going on, Munsch said, “Everyone on the field thought it was a two-seater plane and that two small planes had collided, (wondering) where’s the pilot?”


“Little did we know,” she proclaimed, “it was actually a massive Boeing 777.”


“I don’t know how the police didn’t get involved at the soccer complex, how they weren’t there quicker. They only started marking and putting the police tape up like an hour and 15 minutes after the initial event.” Munsch shockingly recalled this.


“Once they started putting up the caution tape, then they started telling us to get back. Then I ended up leaving after that and so I think right after I left is when the reporters started showing up.” She discussed how her teammates who had stayed, and even her coach, had been interviewed by multiple news outlets about this. 


Additionally, Munsch described that the pieces ranged in sizes and were within feet of them. There were at least six massive pieces, while the rest were insulation. 


As a matter of fact, Munsch didn’t find out what had really happened until she got home. “When I got home and my mom was like yeah it’s on CNN right now. That’s when I was like, this is crazy I didn’t know it was going to be on a national scale, they were showing where I was literally walking two seconds ago.”


When asked about what she would want people to know about the event, Munsch said, “One thing that I think the national headlines kind of blew over was the fact that there were actually practices going on and we were literally darting for our lives. It was just a surreal moment.”

“Just the fact to me that I was personally involved in something so severe and it’s a national investigation and stuff like that is what I think was crazy.” Munsch said still in disbelief of how widespread what started out as a normal soccer practice had become. 

“In the moment my adrenaline took over and I was mentally not grasping how severe the incident was. We all just came together for the common, let’s do this right let’s get it done properly.” She concluded that everyone (following proper COVID guidelines) kind of leaned on each other and made sure they were all okay. 

All in all, it is a miracle that everyone involved made it out injury-free. People on the ground, like Lauryn, and the airplane crew and passengers have a lot to be grateful for. It is said that during this insane chaos, the crew was able to remain calm and the pilots successfully steered the vessel back to safety to the same location of their departure just half an hour before. Afterall, many passengers understandably decided to not take their other flight to Hawaii because of how shaken up they were. This event shows how something that could have been quite catastrophic turned out to be heroic and miraculous. Now it is time for the investigation as to how and why this plane may have struggled the way it did…