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Hole in Qantas jet forces emergency landing - Printable Version

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Hole in Qantas jet forces emergency landing - cyrano - 07-25-2008 11:12 AM

(CNN) -- A Qantas flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne made an emergency landing in the Philippines on Friday after a hole appeared in the fuselage and the cabin lost pressure suddenly.

"There was an almighty crack," one passenger said. "We dropped a bit in the air, but other than that it was fine."

"There was a big bang," said another. "I knew there was a hole somewhere, but I didn't know what was going on."

Marina Scaffidi, 39, from Melbourne, told The Associated Press: "There was wind swirling around the plane and some condensation."

She said a hole extended from the cargo hold into the passenger cabin.

Michael Rahill, 57, an architect from Melbourne, told AP the bang sounded "like a tire exploding, but more violently."

Images of the Boeing 747-400 after it landed showed a large hole where the leading edge of the wing attaches to the fuselage.

The flight originated in London. It was diverted to Manila International Airport, where it landed around 11:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m. ET Thursday.)

There were no reports of injuries among the 346 passengers and 19 crew, the airline said in a statement. Oxygen masks were deployed during the emergency.

Passengers said their ears popped because of the plane's rapid descent to a lower altitude.

Some passengers vomited after disembarking, Manila International Airport Authority deputy manager for operations Octavio Lina told AP.

The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority have been notified and plan to investigate, according to Geoff Dixon, Qantas CEO.