An Air France flight from Paris to Los Angeles was forced to make an emergency landing in Labrador, Canada, Saturday, Sept. 30 after one of its engines exploded west of Greenland.
Some of the passengers described hearing a sudden loud boom aboard the Airbus A380 plane followed by several minutes of vibrating and shaking that caused panic among many of the 496 passengers.
BBC News reported that David Rehmar, a former aircraft mechanic who was on the flight, said that based on his experience the incident was caused by a failure of the stage-one fan, the exterior fan blades on the front of the engine. He said what caused the failure is unknown but added that a bird strike was not likely because of the plane’s attitude.
Mr. Rehmar told the BBC that he initially thought “we were going to go down” considering how the Air France plane was shaking and the possibility that the engine damaged the right wing when it detached. However, the airplane stabilized after about 30 seconds.
One passenger told the New York Daily News that the emergency lights flashed in the plane and the pilots and crew gave everyone regular updates in an effort to calm everyone on the plane.
The Air France plane continued flying for another hour on the remaining three engines until it reached the nearest airport in Canada’s remote Goose Bay in the province of Labrador.
The airplane landed safely at Goose Bay Airport at 11:42 a.m. EST, but passengers had to remain on board for about an hour and a half because the airport was not equipped to handle large planes. Passengers were able to disembark once the stairs were delivered to the airport.
Air France sent two of its 777s from Montreal to Goose Bay to pick up the stranded passengers and reroute them to Los Angeles.