Plane loses engine, returns to airport

Aug. 31, 2010 at 4:34 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A Qantas flight was forced to return to San Francisco International Airport early Tuesday when the jetliner's engine exploded in mid-air, officials said.

The Boeing 747, carrying 212 passengers, had departed for Sydney, Australia, at 11:10 p.m. Monday when, 45 minutes into the flight, the No. 4 engine on the plane's right side exploded, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The explosion made a hole in the engine's external casing, the Chronicle reported.

The pilot declared an emergency, and as a precaution, dumped fuel over the Pacific Ocean, and returned to the airport, the Chronicle reported.

Airport fire trucks surrounded the aircraft when it arrived about 12:45 a.m., the Chronicle said.

There were no injuries and the passengers were "put up in hotels for the night," said airport duty manager Chris Davison.

The engine failure's cause is under investigation, the newspaper said.

Boeing 747s have four engines and are designed to weather the loss of one or two engines, aviation experts said.

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