An Airbus A380 superjumbo carrying 466 passengers and crew has made an emergency landing after suffering serious engine trouble.
The Qantas London-Sydney flight had just taken off after a stopover in Singapore when it suffered an “engine issue” west of Indonesia.
Debris was spotted falling from the sky – with early reports suggestion the plane had in fact crashed.
However, these claims were false with the pilot had calmly turned the A380 round and spending two hours emptying fuel in preparation for a landing back in Singapore.
The gutsy pilot performed a safe landing with three of the remaining four engines in tact.
As the aircraft landed, six fire engines raced up the runway with one local reporter saying he could see smoke still coming from the engine.
Qantas has one of aviation’s best track records for safety with no fatal jet crashes in its 90-year history.
The Australian airline, which has grounded its six-strong fleet of the A380s, has been praised by passengers for the way it dealt with the drama.
German national Ulf Waschbusch, who was heading to Sydney for a holiday told the AFP: “Something ruptured the left wing, it was a small rupture.
“Everyone was surprisingly calm on the plane. We were not going crazy at all.
“The crew helped tremendously. I felt in good hands. Qantas did a great job in keeping us safe.”
Chief executive for Qantas, Alan Joyce said: “We do take our safety reputation and our safety standards unbelievably seriously.
“We’re not going to take any risks with passenger safety – and as a precaution, we’re suspending the flights of the A380 aircraft until we’re comfortable that we understand the reasons for this.”
Qantas is currently planning for an aircraft to depart for Singapore to bring passengers back to Sydney tomorrow morning with passengers and crew on flight QF32 being accommodated in Singapore.
Launched in 2007, the Airbus A380 is the world’s largest commercial airliner – capable of carrying 525 passengers.
It has a wingspan of 80 metres making it roughly as wide as a football pitch is long – with power sourced from four Rolls-Royce engines.
There are 37 of the aircraft in operation around the world, being flown by Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa and Air France with many airports having had to be modified to cope with its enormity.