Qantas Jet Fleet Grounded After Near Disaster
There were moments of terror for passengers inside the world's largest jetliner as an engine disintegrates in mid flight.
One passenger shot video out of the window and showed the damage to the wing caused by flying engine parts as smoke poured out of the engine. In the video's audio, the pilot can be heard reassuring the 459 souls on board.
"I do apologize. I'm sure you are aware we have a technical issue with our number two engine. We have dealt with this situation," said the pilot over the speaker.
As the passengers walked off, fire crews were still dousing the burning engine.
Qantas grounded its entire fleet of six superjumbo jets in the aftermath of the near-disaster. There was drama at Los Angeles International Airport as a Qantas superjumbo that was still in the air when the order was given came in for a landing.
It landed safely.
The superjumbo was featured on the now famous episode of Oprah when she and Qantas spokesman, John Travolta, announced they were flying all 300 Oprah audience members to Australia next month.
Travolta reassured, "It's an award-winning aircraft. Every seat is designed for long travel, so whether you are in economy or business class or first class, you are so comfortable."
The super jumbo jet—an airbus 380—is the biggest passenger plane in the sky. It can fly up to 800 passengers at close to the speed of sound on two decks of roomy seats. Some seats even convert into beds. It debuted in 2007 to much international hoopla and excitement over its enormous size and luxury accommodations.
The Qantas superjumbo jet is also claimed to be the safest plane in the sky—until now. It turns out that this is the third airbus 380 with engine problems since August.
And how will all this effect Oprah's Australia trip giveaway? A spokesperson from her show said, "The safety of Oprah's guests is our first priority and they are working with Qantas about travel options."