In fact, the airplane did dispose fuel, which ended up dousing at least 67 individuals, including lots of kids, with fuel from the airplane.
Flight 89 was meant to fly from LAX to Shanghai, China, however reported an engine issue soon after take-off and chose to come back.
Fuel dumping is a normal emergency treatment when heavily-loaded aircrafts need to land rapidly.
Recordings acquired by the Associated Press reveal discussions between the pilot and air traffic control service at LAX.
The exchange begins with the controller asking if the plane wanted to come directly back, or circle over the Pacific Ocean to burn fuel. (Flying in circles is a way to lighten a plane for landing without fuel discarding.)
Pilot: We’re going to proceed … We’ve got it back under control. … We’re not crucial.
Controller: OK, so you do not need to hold or dispose fuel or anything like that?
Pilot: Ah, negative.
It is not clear why the plane then jettisoned its fuel anyhow. The FAA is examining what happened.
Delta informed Business Insider that the investigation into the exchange is still ongoing.
In an earlier statement it stated the aircraft turned back due to an “engine issue” that needed an immediate return. It did not elaborate on why the fuel was disposed where it was.
Delta on Tuesday sent out overnight cleaning teams to the schools struck by the jet fuel.
The airline company held a joint interview with the Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the LA County Health Department on Wednesday, where officials said that they do not expect any long-term repercussions for those impacted.
David Slotnick contributed reporting to this post.