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Air France passengers describe mid-air terror as engine disintegrates over Atlantic

David Chazan
The Telegraph
Air France says a passenger flight to California from Paris was forced to land in Canada following 'serious damage' to one of the plane's four engines - NBC News/Enrique Guillen

French aviation investigators arrived in Canada on Sunday amid questions over the cause of an apparent engine explosion that forced an Air France airliner to make an emergency landing.

Passengers reported hearing a loud bang on the Paris-Los Angeles flight, followed by vibrations that shook the cabin for 20 minutes.

By the time the Airbus A380 superjumbo jetliner landed at a military airfield in Goose Bay, Newfoundland on Saturday, the cowling covering one of the plane’s four engines had been completely torn off.

Here's a video of the landing. pic.twitter.com/aLUoM5avLH

— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) 30 September 2017

Pamela Adams, a passenger, said there was “a tremendous bang… like the plane hit a Jeep at 35,000 feet. We grabbed on to something and then we sat down, and the plane righted itself fairly soon.”

Another passenger, Daniel McNeely, said those in window seats said the entire engine exploded “in a giant fireball.”

The crumpled engine of the Air France A380 superjumbo is seen in this photo taken by one of the passengers on board. Credit: AFP PHOTO / TWITTER / Sarah Eamigh

Sarah Eamigh said: ”The cabin started vibrating. Someone screamed, and from there we knew something was wrong. We saw the cabin crew walking through the aisles quickly, and we heard an announcement from the captain that said one of our engines had an explosion.”

An Air France Airbus A380 is seen during an emergency landing in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Credit: Reuters

Passengers nervously joked to each other as they tried to work out what had happened, Ms Adams said. Some thought the plane had struck a bird.

The forced landing revived memories of engine damage to a Qantas A380 shortly after takeoff from Singapore seven years ago. The November 2010 incident prompted the grounding of the entire Qantas A380 fleet — six airliners at the time — for more than three weeks.

There were no injuries among the 520 people aboard the double-decker airliner. Passengers completed their journeys to Los Angeles aboard two planes sent by Air France to Goose Bay, which is used as a emergency landing spot for transatlantic flights.


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