An airliner with engine trouble dumped jet fuel that fell on dozens of schoolchildren while the plane made an emergency return to Los Angeles International Airport.
The fuel, described by fire officials as a vapour, caused minor skin and lung irritation to 56 children and adults but nobody was taken to hospital and the only decontamination required was soap and water, officials said.
Delta Air Lines Flight 89 to Shanghai reported an engine problem only minutes after take-off.
“Delta 89, heavy, we have engine compressor stalls on the right engine,” the pilot reported to air traffic control, according to a recording of the radio conversation.
A stall, which can be caused by damage to a turbine, either from a malfunction or sometimes by a bird striking the engine, reduces the engine thrust.
The pilot was asked whether he wanted to keep the aircraft over the ocean to dump fuel but declined, although it appears he may have changed his mind later about whether the plane could safely land weighing as much as it did.
The fuel sprayed out of the plane in two lines and descended at midday in the city of Cudahy and nearby parts of Los Angeles County, about 13 miles east of the airport.
The mist fell on five schools, but all injuries were minor and there were not any evacuations, said Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector Sky Cornell.
“That’s a great sign,” Mr Cornell said.