Passengers hear ‘loud bang’ as plane’s engine shuts down, flight diverted

This file photo provided by Qantas shows one of the carrier's Boeing 747 aircraft. (Photo: Qantas)

Passengers aboard a Saturday overnight Qantas flight from Tokyo bound for Sydney heard a loud bang when the Boeing 747-400 plane they were traveling on experienced a failure of one of its engines.

Qantas flight 26 took off at 9:54 p.m. according to Flight Aware and was in the air for five hours when one of its engines shut down. The aircraft remained in flight for another two hours with three of its four engines in operation.

“In line with standard procedures, the pilots shut down the engine and the flight diverted to Cairns,” Debbie Slade, Qantas fleet safety captain, said in a statement sent to USA Today. “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 plane was diverted to Cairns International Airport at 5:10 a.m. Sunday, three hours ahead of its scheduled landing at its intended destination of Sydney Airport. 

Slade added passengers were informed that the cause of the discord was the shutdown of one of 747’s four engines. 

One passenger, Desmon Du Plessis, described the moment the engine malfunctioned to The Cairns Post: “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.”

“The aircraft had a normal landing and engineers are inspecting the aircraft,” Slade noted in her statement.  

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