Fuselage hole forces jet to land

"Absolutely terrifying" ordeal for passengers on Qantas flight to Melbourne.

    Passengers on the jet bound for Melbourne told how the plane plunged 6,000 metres [AFP]

    The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in an official statement that it was sending four investigators to Manila to assist local authorities with the investigation.

    An initial report by the airport authority, quoting pilot John Francis Bartels, said that the passenger jet suffered an "explosive decompression". While Australia's air-safety investigator said an initial investigation suggested "a section of the fuselage separated".

    'Terrific boom'

    Qantas flight QF30, which took off from Hong Kong at 1:00 GMT, had been due to arrive in Melbourne at 11:45 GMT, according to the Qantas website, but after being forced to land in teh Philippines capital passengers were taken to a hotel.

    "There was a terrific boom, and bits of wood and debris just flew forward into first class and the oxygen masks dropped down," June Kane, a passenger from Melbourne, said.

    An initial investigation said a section of fuselage separated [AFP]
    "We were told that one of the rear doors, a hole had blown into it, but I've since looked at the plane and there's a gigantic gaping hole in the plane.

    "It was absolutely terrifying, but I have to say everyone was very calm," she said, speaking from the Philippine capital.

    Phil Rescall, a 40-year-old man from England travelling to Australia for work, said: "The shock came when many got off the plane and saw the hole.

    "You see the hole and you realise we were very lucky," he said.

    Geoff Dixon, Qantas chief executive officer, said the flight crew praised the pilots and the rest of the 19-person crew for how they handled the incident.

    "This was a highly unusual situation and our crew responded with the professionalism that Qantas is known for," he said.

    Australia's largest domestic and international airline has a good safety record and has never lost a passenger jet to an accident.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.