Panel falls off plane in flight

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | 12:44 p.m. CDT; updated 6:45 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

ST. PETERS — The Federal Aviation Administration and Delta Air Lines continue to investigate how a panel of a Delta jet fell off shortly after takeoff at Lambert Airport in St. Louis.

The panel took a chunk out of Missouri 94 in St. Charles County. No one on the plane or on the ground was hurt.

The panel fell minutes after takeoff on Tuesday. It was described as an 18-by-20-inch tail cone.

The plane was carrying 114 passengers and five crew members to Atlanta. The pilot heard a loud bang and returned to Lambert. Delta says passengers were put on other flights.

The panel landed near a bank and not far from a preschool.

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