PARIS • An Air France A380 superjumbo carrying more than 500 people made an emergency landing in Canada over the weekend after suffering "serious damage" to one of its engines, with passengers recounting hearing a loud bang followed by violent shaking.
Videos and photos posted on social media show extensive damage to the outer starboard engine, with part of the external cowling apparently sheered away.
The double-decker wide-body plane carrying 496 passengers and 24 crew had taken off from Paris bound for Los Angeles and was several hours into the flight when the incident occurred last Saturday.
Passenger Sarah Eamigh told Canadian broadcaster CBC News she heard a "boom", followed by a sudden drop in altitude.
"The cabin started vibrating. Someone screamed, and we knew something was wrong," she said.
"We saw the cabin crew walking through the aisles quickly, and we heard an announcement from the captain that said one of our engines had an explosion."
The plane was diverted as it passed over Greenland and landed safely at a military airport in Goose Bay, eastern Canada, a spokesman for Air France said.
"All of the 520 people on board were evacuated with no injuries," said the spokesman.
The cause of the problem was not immediately clear, but Mr David Rehmar, a former aircraft mechanic who was on the flight, told the BBC that he thought a fan failure may have been to blame.
"We heard a loud 'boom', and it was the vibration alone that made me think the engine had failed," he said, adding that for a few moments, he thought "we were going to go down".
Passenger Miguel Amador posted video footage apparently filmed from a window of the plane showing the damaged engine.
"Engine failure halfway over the Atlantic Ocean," he wrote.
Another passenger, Ms Pamela Adams, said everything on the flight had been normal "and suddenly it felt like we had run into a jeep", she told CBC News.
She said she was "jostled" and the plane dipped slightly "but the pilots recovered beautifully".
"There wasn't the panic that I would've expected," she added, praising the pilots for the way they handled the incident.
Air France operates 10 Airbus A380s, the largest passenger planes in the world.
A team of investigators and engineers headed to Canada yesterday to inspect the superjumbo.
In 2010, a Qantas A380 was forced to make an emergency landing in Singapore when one of its Rolls-Royce engines failed, causing the airline to ground its fleet of superjumbos for weeks.