Engine trouble on Manila-bound Cathay Pacific flight forces plane to make emergency return to Hong Kong

The Cathay Pacific flight, carrying 271 passengers, was then flying over the South China Sea. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG - A Cathay Pacific flight bound for Manila from Hong Kong made an emergency return to the airport soon after take-off on Thursday (Feb 1) night, due to engine issues, Hong Kong media reported. No injuries were reported.

A Hong Kong Airport Authority spokesman said it received an alert from the Civil Aviation Department's air traffic control staff at 9.10pm stating that flight CX913, which took off at 8.27pm, needed to return, the South China Morning Post reported.

The twin-engined Airbus A330 aircraft, carrying 271 passengers, was then flying over the South China Sea.

A "full emergency" was declared by the Civil Aviation Department, which means that an aircraft is confirmed or suspected to be in trouble, with risk of an accident. The status will trigger a full mobilisation of crews from the Fire Services Department, in addition to deploying the Airport Fire Contingent.

The plane landed at 9.55pm, and the "full emergency" status at the airport was lifted.

Operations at the airport were not affected, according to the authority.

A Facebook user, who claimed to have seen flight CX913's return at the Hong Kong International Airport, said there was "an explosion" and there were flames, followed by "some smaller explosions ", the Post reported.

A Cathay spokesman said the incident was caused by a "technical issue with one of the aircraft's engines".

She said another flight had been arranged for the affected passengers. The departure time of the new flight depended on operations at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

This was the second incident affecting Cathay Pacific aircraft in less than a week.

On Monday, the aircraft information system of flight CX403 departing Taipei for Hong Kong had indicated that the tyre pressure was too low. The crew alerted air traffic control staff to the issue, Apply Daily reported.

The plane, carrying 219 passengers, landed safely at 11.22am on Monday at the Hong Kong airport.

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