Passengers describe seeing fireball as engine on Air France flight disintegrates over Atlantic Ocean

An Air France flight from Paris to Los Angeles was forced to make an emergency landing in Canada on Saturday after an engine apparently disintegrated over the Atlantic.

Passengers said they heard a thud and vibrations rattled through the cabin as the A380 plane lost altitude.

“We heard a big popping sound and the airplane basically dropped and it was trembling. You could definitely tell something was different and it wasn’t just turbulence,” Sarah Eamigh told the New York Daily News, adding that the plane shook for 20 minutes before stabilising.

Passengers posted photographs to social media showing the damage.

One said: “I think the engine has seen better days.”

The images appeared to show that the inlet, or front part, of the engine had torn off, but the main part of the engine remained intact.

The airline said flight AF 066 from Paris landed safely at Goose Bay Airport in Labrador.

An Air France Airbus A380 is seen during an emergency landing in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Credit: Reuters

“The aircraft landed safely at 15:42 (GMT), and the regularly trained pilots and cabin crew handled this serious incident perfectly,” the airline said in a statement.

“Air France is working to re-route the passengers to Los Angeles via one of its connecting platforms in North America.”

The aircraft is one of 10 A380s in the Air France fleet and was carrying 496 passengers and 24 crew. 

The forced landing in Canada’s easternmost province is reminiscent of an incident seven years ago in which one of the Rolls Royce engines on a Qantas A380 suffered mid-engine damage after taking off in Singapore. The November 2010 incident prompted the grounding of the entire Qantas A380 fleet — six A380s at the time — for over three weeks.


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