An Air France flight made an emergency landing in Canada after its engine blew out over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday afternoon.
Air France confirmed the Airbus A380 en route from Paris to Los Angeles was diverted to Goose Bay airport in Canada after one of the plane’s four engines was seriously damaged 37,000 above ground.
The double-deck plane, the largest in the world, had 497 passengers.
“The aircraft landed safely at [1:40 p.m.,] and the regularly trained pilots and cabin crew handled this serious incident perfectly,” Air France said.
The plane arrived at the airport with part of the engine cowling missing and was met by fire crews, but their assistance wasn’t needed.
Debris scattered across the runway as the plane made its approach, requiring cleanup before the runway could reopen.
“Loud thud and vibration indicating a catastrophic failure of an important component,” passenger Rick Engebretsen told Sky News. “Turned out to be the engine. It felt like we hit a big pothole.
“It occurred about the time everyone was resting. Everyone immediately woke up and started preparing for a crash. It settled down once the pilots found the right speed and altitude.
“A lot of very scared people on the plane. Including myself.”
Photos showed the entire front part of the engine, including the large fan and engine’s casing, was sheared away. A brown substance was on the remaining portion of the outermost engine and there there were no obvious signs of any external fire.
The airline made arrangements for two flights to pick up the passengers: A Boeing 737 leased by Air France and an Air France Boeing 777-300 will fly to Atlanta where Delta will arrange for passengers to be flown to their final destination,mainly to Los Angeles by a specially leased flight.
Representatives of the French Accident Investigation Bureau, Engine Alliance, Airbus and Air France will conduct an investigation, the airline said.
By Daniel Uria and Allen Cone