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Now tires are falling off airplanes and smashing into parked cars. See the damage at SFO

A damaged car in a parking lot, surrounded by intact vehicles, with a person nearby.
Cars in a San Francisco International Airport employee parking lot were damaged after a United Airlines plane lost part of its landing gear during takeoff Thursday morning. | Source: Courtesy Tara Campbell/KGO-TV/ABC7

A United Airlines flight headed to Osaka, Japan, had to divert to Los Angeles on Thursday after losing a portion of a landing gear tire during takeoff from San Francisco International Airport.

United Flight 35 was departing around 11:35 a.m. when tire debris landed on cars parked in an on-airport employee lot, according to Doug Yakel, a spokesperson for SFO. There were no injuries reported.

A video of the plane taking off shows a tire slide off the landing gear and fall into the sky. Footage from The Standard's media partner ABC7 shows smashed cars parked in front of a toppled-over chain-link fence at the airport.

Video captured the moment a tire fell off a United Airlines flight on Thursday while it was departing from SFO. | Source: Courtesy @caliplanes; Tara Campbell/KGO-TV/ABC7

The runway was briefly closed to clear the debris but has since reopened with no further impact to operations, Yakel said.

According to data from FlightAware web site, a Boeing 777-222 aircraft had been scheduled to take off from the airport at 11:05 a.m. After leaving at 11:22 a.m., it was diverted to Los Angeles International Airport.

In a statement provided to The Standard, United confirmed that the plane lost one tire after takeoff. The aircraft has six tires on each of its two landing gear struts and is designed to land safely with missing or damaged tires, according to the airline.

"We’re grateful to our pilots and flight attendants for their professionalism in managing this situation," United said. "We’re also grateful to our teams on the ground who were waiting with a tug to move the aircraft soon after it landed and to our teams in the airport who assisted customers upon their arrival."

United said it was also working with the owners of the damaged vehicles "to ensure their needs are addressed."

George Kelly can be reached at

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