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Delta jet dumps fuel on school playground before emergency landing at LAX

Up to 23 people were injured when a plane dumped fuel over a school in Los Angeles

"Paramedics are treating those complaining of skin irritation or breathing problems", LAUSD said on Twitter.

There are rules about where the fuel can be dumped, he said, but if a plane declares an emergency - which Flight 89 did - it can be dumped at any point.

At least three fire units were on the scene at Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy after midday on Tuesday (local time).

Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts, said fuel dumping is very rare and is used only in case of emergencies or if pilots have to reach a safe landing weight.

Flight 89 experienced an engine issue, requiring it to return to LAX, said Delta Air Lines spokesman Adrian Gee.

"Pilots know that when you have a problem that threatens the aircraft and you have to get rid of fuel, you get rid of it fast", he said.

Emergency officials said all of the injuries were minor and nobody was transported to the hospital. Videos show the moment that the plane released the jet fuel, shooting mist-like clouds from the back of its wings as it approached LAX.

According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, 17 children and 9 adults at Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy, a small city in Los Angeles County were treated after the fuel landed on them while they were outside on the school's playground.

The flight, Delta Air Lines Flight 89, had been en route from Los Angeles to Shanghai. The plane mid-way dumped its fuel onto a wide area that included Park Avenue Elementary School.

Parents were notified to pick up their children near the school, which is about 16 miles east of the airport, in the path of incoming flights.

He said fuel landed on his sweater, shirt, and shorts and the liquid "smelled bad", he said.

Shortly afterward, the air filled with the pungent odour of fuel.

"It was very strong, the odor", the 12-year-old said.

Goelz, who is not involved in the investigation, said protocols normally call for fuel to be dumped over water and/or at an altitude of 10,000 feet so it can disperse and minimise environmental damage. "So he has to make the decision: Do I spend the time to dump fuel or do I put this thing on the ground as soon as I can?"

The other schools affected were San Gabriel Elementary, Graham Elementary, Tweedy Elementary, 93rd Street Elementary and Jordan High School.