Passengers have revealed the moment they heard a tremendous ‘bang’ and saw ‘orange sparks fly’ while on board a Qantas plane bound for Sydney.
Flight QF26, from Tokyo, had been in the air for five hours when an issue with one of the aircraft’s port jet engines caused the terrifying noise and a flash of flames in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Fretful passengers were forced to sit-tight for a further two hours while the plane continued on its flight, using three out of the four engines, before safely landing at Cairns International Airport at about 5am.
One Qantas customer, who had been on board the wide-bodied jet when the alarming incident occurred, claimed almost instantly after the engine malfunctioned the plane started shaking before lurching downwards at a rapid pace.
‘I was sitting at the window and there was an incredibly loud bang and when I looked out there was an orange flame and then sparks, it was like white,’ Desmon Du Plessis told The Cairns Post.
Mr Du Plessis added the plane started ‘shaking’ and passengers could hear the engine had died almost immediately.
He said he said he found the whole ordeal ‘scary’ and was ‘deeply relieved’ when the plane touched down on the ground.
Another passenger described the captains decision to divert to the nearest Australian airport as ‘very sensible’ as the plane had previously plummeted very quickly.
‘We went from 10,000m to 7000m quite quickly and then we continued for a while,’ Mr Jonas said.
While a third passenger travelling on the aircraft, Andrew Mak, described the moment he felt a ‘bit of an explosion’ and then saw sparks flying out of one of the engines.
He added not many passengers were startled by the occurrence as most were asleep.
Mr Mak said after the initial explosion quite a few vibrations which left him ‘quite concerned’.
‘We didn’t quite know what was happening. There were quite a few vibrations occurring from that initial explosion,’ he said.
Around 10 minutes after passengers heard the ‘bang’ the pilot announced they had successfully shutdown the engine.
A spokesperson for Qantas said the diversion to Cairns was not an emergency landing and the engine had not ‘exploded’ but had been shutdown by the pilot as part of standard procedure.
‘Our Tokyo to Sydney flight diverted to Cairns this morning due to an issue with one of the engines,’ Debbie Slade, Qantas Fleet Safety Captain, told Daily Mail Australia.
‘In line with standard procedures, the pilots shut down the engine and the flight diverted to Cairns.
‘While customers may have heard a loud bang, there was never a safety risk with the flight. These aircraft are designed to safely operate on three of the four engines.
‘The aircraft had a normal landing and engineers are inspecting the aircraft,’ Ms Slade concluded.
Customers were transferred to other flights out of Cairns to reach their final destinations.