Reuters – A Malaysia Airlines flight returned safely to Melbourne airport on Friday, having turned back within minutes of take-off after an engine fire alert went off, airport and airline officials said.

The Airbus A330 aircraft MH148 was carrying 300 passengers and heading from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur.

"There was an emergency declared, there was an 'engine fire' alert in the cabin. The plane proceeded to dump the fuel and returned to land and it landed safely at the aviation rescue sites," a spokeswoman at Airservices Australia told Reuters by phone.

However, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said there was no indication of fire after landing.

Malaysia Airlines also said in a statement that a preliminary inspection revealed no evidence of fire externally, and further assessments were underway.

"The Airbus 330 is being inspected by Malaysia Airlines’ engineers and ground personnel," the statement added.

All of the passengers on board the flight were disembarked.

Malaysia Airlines was involved in two air disasters in 2014 with MH370 disappearing over the southern Indian Ocean last March and MH17 being shot down over Ukraine a few months later.

The incident could further dent confidence in the "technically bankrupt" Malaysian carrier, whose decline began long before the tragic events of last year.