Missing fuel cap turns plane back

An American Airlines flight to Dallas returned to the Durango-La Plata County Airport on Sunday after the fuel cap dislodged shortly after takeoff.

The flight left Durango at 12:35 p.m. and landed back at the airport at 12:56 p.m.

The captain decided to return to Durango as a precaution so the airplane could be inspected after an indication in the cockpit made him aware of the dislodged fuel cap, said Matt Miller, spokesman for American Airlines.

This is a very rare occurrence and is not a safety-of-flight issue, Miller said.

The fuel cap primarily is used to keep debris out rather than keep the fuel in.

The 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 took off again at 3:09 p.m.

A study from the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority in Tennessee showed that between December 1998 and April 2009, 217 fuel caps were recovered at airports in the United States and Canada, according to a Washington Post article.

jdahl@durangoherald.com

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