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Horror aboard Airbus A330 as engine bursts into flames
Published on 17 May. 2011 12:28 AM IST
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A Cathay Pacific aeroplane was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines caught fire. Passengers have spoken about how they prayed together as the aircraft made its way back to Singapore early this morning. The Airbus 330, bound for Jakarta, had 136 passengers on board and it managed to land ‘without incident’ just before 2a.m. The pilot, who praised the passengers for being calm, shut down the engine after receiving a ‘stall warning’.
Reuters photographer Beawiharta was aboard the plane with his wife, two sons and daughter. He said that about 20 minutes after take-off there were two sharp bangs.
He said there was a smell of smoke but when his son, Pradipta, 15, looked out of the window he couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. ‘But I asked him to cup his hands to get a better view,’ Beawiharta said. ‘He shouted: ‘I see fire! I see fire!’
‘Panicked, he then asked: “Will we die? Will we die?” I took his hand and told him firmly: ‘No, we are going to live.’ ‘Behind us, passengers were praying: ‘God, save our flight! Give us your protection!’’
The prayers got louder and louder, pierced by only the occasional cry of panic.
‘A stewardess told us an engine had caught fire and we were on our way back to Singapore. Glued to the window, my son said he could see lights, the sea and ships and then lights on the ground.
‘We all grabbed life jackets from beneath our seats, but the plane landed smoothly.
‘Within five minutes, as firefighters doused the damaged engine, we walked off the plane into the terminal.’
In the waiting room, the pilot ofthe plane greeted assembled passengers.
‘The best that we can ever ask of passengers is to stay cool, stay calm ... which you did,’ he said. ‘And for that we thank you.’

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