Plane breaks apart midair; none hurt

Qantas Airways and Singapore Airlines suspended flights of Airbus A380 superjumbos on Thursday after an engine appeared to break apart in flight, forcing a Qantas jet to make an emergency landing in Singapore.

Passengers said they saw parts of the engine fall off. None of the 459 people on board were hurt, according to authorities.

Qantas and Singapore Airlines both grounded their fleet of A380s, and British engine maker Rolls-Royce issued a statement urging operators of the aircraft to perform safety checks on its Trent 900 engines. “This was a significant engine failure,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce told reporters in Sydney.

Rolls-Royce, whose shares were down more than 5 percent, said earlier it was working with authorities to understand the incident and Airbus, whose shares fell 4 percent. The company also said it would provide full technical assistance to Australian and French accident investigators.

One of the Airbus A380’s four Rolls-Royce engines failed minutes after it had left Singapore for Sydney. The flight began in London.

Former aircraft engineer Neil Shephard was on board. “Four or five minutes after the flight [took off], there was a loud bang,” he told Reuters. “The pilot said there was a technical issue with the plane and then we circled around for an hour to dump the fuel. During the landing, it was a bit wobbly.”



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