Plane dumps thousands of pounds of fuel over Lake Michigan

Citing mechanical problems, an American Airlines flight en route to China dumped 151,000 pounds of fuel over Lake Michigan on Sunday night.

According to an American Airlines spokesman, the fuel was dumped over the freshwater lake after an emergency forced the plane to return to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport about 90 minutes after departing for Beijing. The fuel had to be dumped because landing overweight would have created problems, and even after the gas was unloaded the plane blew a tire when it touched down.

The spokesman claims dumping the fuel did not harm the lake because the fuel evaporates before it reaches the surface. However, one of the 249 passengers on board told NBC Chicago he watched from the plane’s window as the fuel was evacuated into the body of water.

[Photo by ReneS/Flickr]