Investigators probe Air France A380 after engine blow-out

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A team of investigators and engineers headed to Canada Sunday to inspect an Airbus A380 superjumbo operated by Air France which was forced to make an emergency landing after an engine explosion.

The double-decker aircraft carrying 496 passengers and 24 crew had taken off from Paris on Saturday bound for Los Angeles and was several hours into the flight when the blow-out occurred.

Passengers recounted hearing a loud bang followed by violent shaking, with video and photos posted on social media showing extensive damage to the outer starboard engine.

An Air France spokesman said Sunday that officials from France’s BEA air crash investigation unit and engineers from Airbus and the US-based engine maker were flying to Goose Bay in eastern Canada where the plane landed.

All passengers were expected on Sunday morning to complete their journeys to Los Angeles aboard two planes sent by Air France to the Goose Bay military airport, which is used as a emergency landing spot for transatlantic flights.

The cause of the problem was not immediately clear, but David Rehmar, a former aircraft mechanic who was on the flight, told that he thought a fan failure may have been to blame.

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 the superjumbos for weeks.

Air France operates 10 Airbus A380s, the largest passenger planes in the world.

Their version of the plane uses GP7200 engines, a giant turbofan built by General Electric and Pratt and Whitney of the US.

Sales of the mammoth A380 have been sluggish and Airbus has said it will reduce production in 2019 to just eight of the planes.

In 2015 the company produced 27 of them.

Nonetheless, Airbus CEO Tom Enders recently voiced confidence in the future of the plane.

 

 

Source: News agencies