Qantas plane lands safely after scare

2010-11-04 07:11

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Singapore - A Qantas Airways passenger plane carrying 459 people was forced to shut down an engine and return to Singapore's Changi airport on Thursday, ending speculation that it had crashed, the airline and Singapore state TV said.

The Airbus A-380, the world's largest passenger plane, suffered engine trouble shortly after it had left the island state.

Initial media reports said the plane had crashed after an explosion over the Indonesian island of Batam, near Singapore.

The reports sent the Australian carrier's shares lower but they later recovered.

Singapore's Channel NewsAsia said the plane had initially circled Singapore to burn fuel before making an emergency landing at 11:45 (03:45 GMT). Australian officials said no one on board had been injured.

Debris

"A Qantas A-380 aircraft operating QF32 from Singapore to Sydney experienced an engine issue soon after take-off and returned to Singapore," Qantas said in a statement.

A Reuters reporter said the plane was surrounded by emergency vehicles but there was no sign of any smoke or fire, with passengers apparently still on board.

Qantas said that 433 passengers and 26 crew were on board. Indonesian TV showed pictures of a small amount of debris on the ground near Batam airport which it said belonged to the Qantas flight, QF32. There was no independent confirmation.

"After an explosion, the plane was still moving but smoke was trailing from one of its wings," Rusdi, a witness in Batam, told Indonesia's Metro TV.

The plane, which can carry more than 500 passengers, had originated in London and had taken off from Singapore heading for Sydney.

Qantas has never had a fatal accident. A mid-air explosion blew a minivan-size hole in the side of a Qantas 747-400 in 2008 which Australian air safety investigators blamed on an oxygen bottle.

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