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Engine explosion causes emergency landing in Qantas A380

by Jorge Hernandez on November 4, 2010

A Qantas Airbus A380 carrying 440 passengers from Singapore to Sydney, Australia, was forced to make an emergency landing yesterday after experiencing a significant engine failure 15 minutes after takeoff. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the incident has led the Australian airline to ground its fleet of A380s until the cause of the malfunction is uncovered.

The incident was seen from the ground on the nearby Indonesian island of Batam. Residents reported witnessing the plane flying erratically and hearing an explosion. The island soon became peppered with debris from the disintegrated engine and at least two people on the ground were injured as shards of metal fell near a school.

Those on board described a chaotic scene and reported seeing heavy damage to the aircraft’s wing. Several passengers posted pictures to Twitter shortly after the plane touched down.

”I heard a bit of a shudder and then there was a massive explosion and we saw wires sticking up and parts of the wing had blown off,” Sue Wooster, from Melbourne, told Australian news station Channel Seven. ”Then you were waiting for what was going to happen next – is the plane going to go down and the engines going to stop running?”

The incident is the second in less than three months for Qantas, and officials fingered Rolls Royce, the manufacturer, who built the engine on another one of their flights that experienced a similar explosion flying from San Francisco to Sydney.

While Qantas has grounded any flights of the A380s, other airlines that use the model have kept theirs in service. The shutting down of the A380s could be problematic for Qantas, as they will have to scramble to find enough replacement jets to accommodate passengers flying to Los Angeles.

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