Qantas jumbo jet diverts after fuselage ruptures

A Qantas jet bound for Hong Kong was forced to divert into the Philippines today, after a portion of the fuselage just in front of the starboard wing ruptured.

The explosion left a gash reaching into the cargo hold of the 744, resulting in a loss of pressure in that cabin and an emergency descent to 10,000 feet. Oxygen masks were deployed by the captain and the flight landed fortunately landed safely in the South Pacific without further event.

But what a scary event for passengers. Among not knowing what exploded on the plane, the extent of the damage, how/if the aircraft was going to land safely and the thought of a terrorist attack, I’m sure passengers were mortified. This CNN article points out that several passengers were vomiting as they exited the aircraft.

Was it a terrorist attack? From photos of the damage, it looks more like it was a materials failure (airlines run numerous x-ray and ultrasonic tests to normally prevent this). Who knows though. Someone could have also checked some hazard luggage that reacted in the cargo hold. I’m sure we’ll find out in the ongoing investigation.

Surprisingly, the passengers in the cabin took it fairly well during the descent. AP has some video taken inside of the aircraft and save for the oxygen masks being deployed, everything seems fairly orderly.