“…we heard a bang…it was so loud and suddenly the plane started shaking…”
An Emirates Airline Airbus A330 suffered a ‘massive engine failure’ Sunday night shortly after taking off from Lusaka Airport in Zambia forcing pilots to return for an emergency landing.
The story originally broke on Monday when some Zambia news sources reported that an Emirates flight had crash-landed at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka. Although that report was false, Emirates Airline themselves refuted the report and said merely that the A330 “returned to Lusaka airport last night shortly after takeoff due to a technical issue. The aircraft landed normally, taxied to the stand and passengers disembarked in the usual way.”
It would appear the incident was a bit more serious that the airline let on.
‘“We could have died…Thank God we are alive,” the shaken Mizinga Melu said. According to Mrs Melu, all seemed well until 30 minutes in the air when “we heard a bang…it was so loud and suddenly the plane started shaking…Thank God we are alive…I’m traumatised.”
Sources at Kennth Kaunda International Airport disclosed that the engine is extensively damaged and requires replacement and that blades snapped and ripped through the engine cover.
The sources said about three port side fan blades snapped off the propeller and shot through the engine nacelle (engine cover or housing), causing a big hole.’
The resulting explosion caused a fire in the Rolls Royce engine that pilots were able to put out by cockpit-controlled fire extinguishers.
Officials from Rolls Royce are expected in the country today to conduct an investigation as to the cause of the failure.
‘The plane had been towed away from the apron and its engine covers were visibly covered with black soot. It was cordoned off with masking tapes.’
There is also a report that the wing may have incurred damage from the explosion but this has not been confirmed.