Qantas Airways Flight 74 took off from SFO at about 11 p.m. and had been in the air for about 20 minutes when the engine malfunction happened, forcing the pilot to return to SFO to make an emergency landing.
Passengers told us they heard a loud noise and felt a strong shuttering type of feeling coming from the right side of the plane. At one point, flames were coming from the engine, according to some passengers. The pilot announced over the intercom that an engine had blown up and they were returning to SFO, passengers said. The captain assured passengers that the plane would fly be ok to fly on the remaining three engines for the emergency landing.
A representative from Quantas said the crew noticed vibrations coming from the plane's No. 4 engine about 15 minutes after takeoff. After performing in-flight checks, the decision was made to shut down the troubled engine and return to SFO for an emergency landing.
The four-engine Boeing 747, carrying 221 passengers and 18 crew members, jettisoned the fuel and safely made the emergency landing at 12:45 a.m. Fire engines and emergency vehicles met the plane on the tarmac. There were no injuries to anyone aboard the plane.
Photos from the plane on the tarmac show a gash in the engine.
The passengers were put up in a hotel for the night and are supposed to be rebooked on a flight to Sydney today, airport officials said. They might have to be rerouted through Los Angeles.
Davison said the event was isolated and has not affected other travel in or out of SFO.