Inside a Norwegian Air Boeing 737.
  • Pieces from a Norwegian Air Boeing 787 detached from the plane and fell onto an island outside Rome, damaging cars and homes.
  • The plane was forced to turn back to the airport after what Norwegian said were "indications of a technical failure of one of the engines".
  • One resident said the pieces fell "like bullets," while another said he felt "lucky to be alive" after he was hit by a piece of debris.
  • Italy's flight safety agency is investigating the incident, Italian media reported.
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Debris from a Norwegian Air Boeing 787 pelted a village near Rome after a "technical failure," damaging cars and homes as the plane passed over worried residents.

The plane dropped pieces of debris between five and 10 centimetres in diameter as it passed over the Isla Sacra area outside Rome after taking off at the nearby Fiumicino airport on Saturday, Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported.

The plane then turned back to the airport, with Norwegian saying the plane had "indications of a technical failure of one of the engines".

Video from the Associated Press, shared by Mail Online shows the smashed windows in the area, and residents holding the piece of debris:

Local authorities said that 25 cars and 12 homes were registered as damaged, Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported.

One resident told the newspaper that the pieces fell "like bullets," and the Mail Online reported that another man said he felt "lucky to be alive" after he was hit by a piece.

More damage can be seen in these photos from Il Messaggero:

A spokesperson for Norwegian said told Euronews that the plane, which was bound for Los Angeles, turned back to the airport "due to indications of a technical failure of one of the engines." She said the plane landed safely.

Esterino Montino, the mayor of the region that contains Isla Sacra, said in a statement on Saturday that "some metal fragments fell to the ground at high speed" as the plane had a "malfunction" and had to turn back.

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He said the fragments "hit and damaged parked cars, roofs and other objects," where local and national police and the fire brigade then went.

He said that incident added to ongoing "safety concerns" about the location of the airport, where "the planes are so close to the houses, there are real risks."

ENAC, Italy's flight safety agency, is investigating the incident, according to Corriere Della Sera.

Ruqayyah Moynihan contributed reporting.

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