Aircraft releases jet fuel over schools before emergency landing

Students and adults at several Los Angeles schools suffered minor injuries when the flight bound for Shanghai experienced engine issues.
2:43 | 01/15/20

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Transcript for Aircraft releases jet fuel over schools before emergency landing
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy Tuesday night. And we begin with that scare and tonight, the emergency response after a delta passenger jet dumped fuel over children playing on a school playground as that jet was preparing for an emergency landing. Several children and adults have been treated after that troubling sight in the sky. You can see the fuel streaming out of the passenger jet as it prepared for that emergency landing at nearby L.A.X. Airport. It turns out there were at least three schools in the path of that jet. Students and staff reporting tonight they could see, they could smell the fuel. First responders rushing to the scene, tending to the children where the fuel came down. Tonight, delta airlines now saying the plane was dumping fuel to get to a safe weight to land the plane, but what is the protocol when you're flying over schools, over neighborhoods? ABC's Zachary kiesch on the scene in Los Angeles. Reporter: The delta flight heading back to L.A.X. To make an emergency landing just minutes after takeoff. In its wake, streams of jet fuel dumped on mile after mile of Los Angeles neighborhoods below. At L.A.X., a triple seven was dumping fuel. It's very possibly fuel that did drop on these people. Reporter: Jet fuel raining down in a mist. In its path, children playing outside on school playgrounds. We did have a fuel drop here. You can smell it. We have an unknown number of people exposed. My friend said it was raining, but I didn't see any clouds. And they told us to go back to class. Reporter: Within minutes, crews racing to treat at least 606 people, including about 20 children, who suffered eye and skin irritation. Medics washing the toxic fuel off. I got pretty nervous, because I didn't know what was happening. Reporter: Flight 89 was bound for Shanghai when the plane experienced a compressor stall, a backfiring of the engine. There's going to be a heavy inbound emergency the inboard runway. Reporter: That jet heavy with fuel. Was still dumping fuel at 2,300 feet, below the FAA recommended level above 5,000 feet, where the fuel evaporating before it reaches the ground. Usually you're going to want to dump fuel out over the water or over a sparsely populated area. If you're going to dump it on the way to the airport over a city, you really need to have an urgent reason to do so. And Zachary keep reporting in tonight. Any word on the children tonight, how they're doing? Reporter: David, fortunately none of those children had to be taken to the hospital, but they did have to be decome tam nated with soap and water. 0 firms will continue to monitor the air quality around here, but people around here have lots of questions. David? Zachary keep leading us off thank you, Zachary.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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