China Eastern plane makes emergency landing in Australia after fault tears hole in engine casing

A China Eastern flight bound for Shanghai was forced to turn back to Sydney due to a mid-air emergency involving an engine problem overnight, according to the airline.
A China Eastern Airlines Airbus A330 aircraft sits on the tarmac at Sydney International Airport in Australia, June 12, 2017, after it made an emergency landing with a damaged left engine.
A China Eastern Airlines Airbus A330 aircraft sits on the tarmac at Sydney International Airport in Australia, June 12, 2017, after it made an emergency landing with a damaged left engine. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) - A China Eastern passenger plane suffered a serious fault that tore a huge hole in one of its engine casings and forced the aircraft to make an emergency landing in Sydney, the carrier said on Monday (June 12).

Terrified passengers described a massive din soon after flight MU736 took off from Sydney Airport at 8.30pm (6.30pm Singapore time) on Sunday, as crew cleared seats near the affected engine and turned the flight back. No one was injured.

"The crew observed the abnormal situation of the left engine and decided to return to Sydney Airport immediately," a China Eastern spokeswoman told AFP in an e-mailed statement.

"The returned aircraft is currently under investigation at Sydney Airport."

Images posted on social media showed a large hole ripped in the casing of the engine, reportedly an A330.

An unnamed passenger told broadcaster Channel Seven: "We, like, went up in the air and all of a sudden, I heard like 'z-z-z-z-z' and it was really, really loud. It kind of smelled like burning.

"Oh, I was scared. Yes. I was really scared. Our group was terrified."

Another passenger told commercial broadcaster Channel Nine "the wing to my left just started making a massive amount of noise and they cleared all of the seats".

China Eastern said all passengers would be placed on flights departing Australia on Monday.