UK & World News

  • 12 November 2012, 12:09

Emirates Superjumbo Turned Back By Engine Fire

An Emirates Airlines A380 jet bound for Dubai has been forced to return to Sydney after a fire in one of its engines just minutes after take-off.

The superjumbo had reached 10,000ft and had been flying for just 20 minutes when passengers said they heard a bang and felt the double-decker aircraft "judder".

They then saw flames shooting several metres out of one of the engines.

Passenger John Fothergill of Auckland, New Zealand, said he saw a flash.

"I thought it could have been lightning but then we saw flames come out of the engine. The whole interior of the A380 lit up," he told News Limited.

"You'd have to say there were two or three metre flames. (The) explosion shook the plane, there was a bigger judder."

Passenger Ross Clarke described hearing a loud bang.

"We were told by the pilot that something had gone wrong on the starboard engine, number three engine," he told Channel Seven News.

Emirates flight attendants moved to the windows to observe and asked passengers what they had seen.

Mr Fothergill's wife, Amal Aburawi, said the attendants appeared to panic more than the passengers.

"Everyone was running left and right, no-one knowing what's happened," she said.

In a statement the airline said: "Emirates flight EK413 from Sydney to Dubai on 11 November turned back shortly after take-off due to an engine fault. Passengers are being rebooked on alternative flights."

A mid-air engine blowout in November 2010 on an A380 using Rolls Royce Trent engines prompted Australia's Qantas Airlines to ground its entire fleet of Airbus superjumbos for nearly a month.

But Emirates, the world's biggest user of A380s, uses rival GP7200 engines built by Engine Alliance, a joint venture between engine manufacturers General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.

Emirates apologised for the inconvenience to its passengers, but said the safety was "of the highest priority and will not be compromised". The A380s, worth 235m ($375m) apiece, typically carry around 525 passengers.

The A380 aircraft, manufactured in Toulouse from parts sourced across Europe, have also been affected by cracks in the wings of a small number of planes. There are 18 airlines currently using the aircraft with total orders outstanding for 262.

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