Sydney: Passengers on a Sydney-bound Qantas jet rocked by an exploding engine on Thursday described how the plane felt like it had hit a "speed bump" and showered flames and sparks like fireworks.
The Qantas Boeing 747-400 had to turn back to San Francisco about half an hour into Monday's flight after an engine failed, blasting a large hole in its casing.
Passengers among the 212 on board finally arrived in Sydney today, and told of their alarm when the engine gave way with a "loud thump", sending rumbles through the aircraft.
"It was like the plane hit a speed bump," one man told an ABC TV reporter at Sydney Airport.
"The plane shuddered violently and passengers were quite concerned about what had happened," added another.
"Basically the plane shuddered to the left and there were quite a deal of flames coming out of the engine. Somebody likened it to a roman candle (firework) that extended from the wing right down to the end of the plane."
Crew members dashed to the front of the aircraft and worried children had to be soothed, a third man said.
"We just told my son that they had to use special tools like daddy's at home to repair the plane, and that we would get to Sydney to see the kangaroos and the aquarium," he told ABC.
Qantas, Australia's national airline, said investigations were underway into the incident, which it described as "excessive vibration" in one of the plane's four Rolls-Royce engines.
Initial checks confirmed that the engine had failed, and a spokesman said there were a couple of "holes" in the casing. Transport safety officials from Australia and the United States are now looking into the matter.
No one was injured and the aircraft landed back at San Francisco without incident, with the passengers taking a later flight.
First Published: Thursday, September 02, 2010, 16:01