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UPDATED: Air France A380 Lands Safely After Uncontained Engine Failure Over Atlantic

Air France Flight 66 from Paris suffered an uncontained engine failure of the #4 engine. Photo by Twitter user @johnnybirk. Used with permission.

UPDATE #3 Sept 30 8:10PM PT:  Passengers remained on the jet after landing at Goose Bay.  Air France is sending a Boeing 777 and a 3rd party Boeing 737 to pick up the passengers.  As of 8:10PM PT tonight, the aircraft have not arrived. Below is an additional photo taken by a passenger on the flight.

Additionally, Jacon Soboroff from MSNBC posted this passenger-filmed video of the A380 landing at Goose Bay.

UPDATE #2 Sept 30 5:52PM PT:  ATC audio of the arrival into Goose Bay has appeared on YouTube. Other than the “Mayday” at the end of every call, the approach by Air France 66 seemed very nominal.  One interesting thing to note though is that the jet taxied clear.  This isn’t uncommon after an engine failure.  However, an engine failure as severe as the one AF66 experienced could lead to additional fuel or hydraulic leaks.  Typically rescue vehicles will follow the jet to parking.  It is unclear from the audio if rescue equipment followed the jet to parking.

UPDATE #1 Sept 30 3:26PM PT: Video has emerged of the arrival into Goose Bay, Canada. In the video, you can see the #4 engine is clearly inoperative after the fan and cowling blew off.

An Air France A380 safely made an emergency landing in Canada today, after one of its engines failed and came to pieces in flight from Paris to Los Angeles. File Photo: Air France

ORIGINAL REPORT: An Air France A380, flight AF66, landed safely this afternoon at Goose Bay International Airport in Newfoundland, Canada, after suffering an in-flight engine failure where the engine appeared to “blow apart”, according to tweets from passengers onboard.

The incident occurred over the Atlantic, en route from Paris to Los Angeles, and initial images on twitter show parts of the engine ripped off. The flight landed safely an hour later.

Others passengers tweeted hearing a “loud thud and a lot of vibration” before looking out at the mangled engine.

Air France confirmed the incident but offered few details, saying passengers were in the process of being transitioned to new flights to LA.

Another major disintegration issue with an A380 engine occurred in Nov 2010, and a QANTAS Airbus A380 flight with 480 passengers and crew was forced to return to LAX earlier this year after takeoff when it suffered an engine failure on climb to cruising altitude. It is important to note though that the Qantas aircraft flew with Rolls Royce engines.  The Air France aircraft involved in today’s incident flew with Engine Alliance GP7000 engines produced in a joint venture between GE and Pratt and Whitney.

We will update more as details emerge.
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Written by Mike Killian

Mike Killian

Killian is an aerospace photographer and writer, with a primary focus on spaceflight and military and civilian aviation. Over the years his assignments have brought him onboard NASA's space shuttles, in clean rooms with spacecraft destined for other worlds, front row for launches of historic missions and on numerous civilian and military flight assignments.

When not working the California-native enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, storm chasing, producing time-lapses and shooting landscape and night sky imagery, as well as watching planes of course.

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