China Eastern flight lands safely in Sydney with hole torn in engine

Flight to Pudong turns back to Sydney

A China Eastern Airlines flight from Sydney to Shanghai returned to after a massive hole was detected in one of its engines, an airport official said on Monday.

An audio recording of the pilot's communication with Sydney Tower air traffic control captured the mid-air emergency, with the pilot clearly explaining the gravity of the situation.

The audio sent social media into a spin, with some suggesting the pilot was trying to say "fault" and others pointing to a slip of the tongue.

Images showed a vertical hole in the side of the engine.

The plane landed safely at Sydney Airport where it was greeted by emergency services on the tarmac. "The returned aircraft is now under investigation at Sydney Airport". "I'm glad we're all safe", a passenger said. "At its climbing speed, it will be getting faster and faster and that may have been the trigger to rip off some of that engine casing", he said. Oh, I was scared. Yes.

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Passengers, who had to spend the night in Sydney, told media they smelled burning inside the aircraft.

Passenger Leigh Stewart praised the crew's professionalism during the mid-air drama, saying he felt "very lucky".

China Eastern's Ms Zhang said a comprehensive investigation would involve aviation authorities from Australia and China.

Passengers are expected to board another flight Monday morning, however a thick blanket of fog is now causing delays and diversions. I was really scared.