The driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee in Newport Beach had a lucky escape last month when a fuel cap from an aircraft which had taken off from John Wayne Airport, California, hit his car, officials said Thursday.

The Balboa Island resident was driving home from a drug store late afternoon on Dec. 29, 2017, when the fuel cap from the United Airlines Airbus A3210 hit the hood of his moving car at Park Avenue between Diamond and Sapphire avenues.

The cap smashed the hood and left a big visible gash on the body of the Cherokee. Luckily, the driver, who chose to not reveal his identity, wasn’t injured.

According to a report in the Orange County Register, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Ian Gregor, said the aircraft was en route to Denver when the incident happened.

Gregor said, “The FAA has been in touch with the gentleman whose car was struck and has communicated with United Airlines, which was operating the plane from which the fuel cap fell.”

He added they were also talking to the person who fueled the aircraft.

United Airlines spokesman Charles Hobart said that the airline was looking into the matter. He said, “Safety is our top priority. We are reviewing this incident internally and working with the authorities and manufacturers.”

Pear Lee, who was authorized by the driver to speak on his behalf, posted about the incident on social media website, the Orange County Register reported.

He said the driver was lucky and if the cap had fallen a fraction of a second too early he would have been killed.

Pearl wrote, “It’s an indicator of what could happen if there was a catastrophic situation if a commercial airplane is going over a high-density neighborhood instead of going over more open waters where the same incident wouldn’t impact as many people.”

The incident comes in the wake of a recent tentative settlement of a lawsuit by city and county officials that forced the FAA to change the routes of flights departing John Wayne Airport to avoid flying over some neighborhoods in Newport Beach.

The residents of the area had complained of excessive noise and pollution from planes that take off from the airport. 

According to a report in NBC Los Angeles, Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff said, “The flight patterns follow historic patterns of the bay, versus picking brand-new patterns that might impact more communities, more residential areas.”

According to a report in Orange County Register, Newport Beach City Councilman Kevin Muldoon said the city was planning to launch a public relations campaign in this regard. The campaign would focus on requesting the various airlines to instruct their pilots to fly higher after take-off. This would help the planes to fly at a higher altitude over the neighborhoods close to the airport.

Muldoon said, “We want to make the airlines that fly out of John Wayne Airport aware of the noise and health concerns and request they work with us to mitigate those impacts.”