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Hole in fuselage forces Qantas jet to land

Published by onlines on July 27, 2008


A packed jumbo jet flight from London has been forced to make an emergency landing after a gaping hole appeared in the plane as it headed for Australia.

Some passengers vomited and oxygen masks had to be used as the Melbourne-bound Qantas Boeing 747 plane prepared to land at Manila in the Philippines.

Passengers spoke of hearing a loud bang and debris flying into the first class cabin, as the plane’s flooring gave way.

Alarm inside the cabin and view of the fuselage hole

Part of the ceiling collapsed and the plane reportedly plunged 20,000ft.

The aircraft touched down safely at Manila at 11.15am local time and all 346 passengers and 19 crew disembarked normally.

Manila airport operations officer Ding Lima told local radio the plane lost cabin pressure shortly after take-off on the Hong Kong to Melbourne leg of its journey.

He said: “There is a big hole in the belly of the aircraft near the right wing, about three metres in diameter.

“Upon disembarkation, there were some passengers who vomited. You can see in their faces that they were really scared.”

Amateur video from inside the plane

Passenger Brendan McClements told Sky News: “The air rushed out of the cabin and the masks fell down.

“People were, as much as they can be, relaxed and belted in with their masks on, realising that they had very little control over what they could do. I thought it was a collision – it didn’t sound like an explosion.”

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

“On the left-hand side, just forward of the wing, there’s a gaping hole from the wing to the underbody.”

“It was absolutely terrifying, but I have to say everyone was very calm.”

Peter Gibson, from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, said: “The pilot has some pressurisation warnings about a door on the left-hand side of the aircraft, but exactly what went wrong is still being determined.”

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