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Hole in Qantas jet forces emergency landing

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.

Qantas pilot Captain John Francis Bartels looks at the damaged fuselage in Manila, Philippines.
An inspection revealed a hole in the Boeing 747-400's fuselage, and initial reports indicated that a section of the fuselage had separated in the area of the forward cargo compartment, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said in a written statement.
"There was an almighty crack," one passenger said. "We dropped a bit in the air, but other than that it was fine." The Associated Press reported that the plane was at 29,000 feet when the incident happened before descending to 10,000 feet.
"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. Watch more on the incident »
Manila International Airport Authority spokesman Octavio Lina said there were no injuries, but some of the 345 passengers vomited after disembarking, AP reported. Video of the incident shows passengers applauding as the plane landed safely.
Qantas said the hole, which was between 2.5 to three meters in diameter, was being inspected by engineers.
A report by the airport authority quoted pilot John Francis Bartels as saying an initial investigation indicated there was an "explosive decompression."
Lina said the cabin's floor gave way, exposing some of the cargo beneath and part of the ceiling collapsed, AP reported.
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. Watch footage from the plane »
Passengers said their ears popped because of the plane's rapid descent to a lower altitude.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/07/25/jet.emergency/index.html
 
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