Passengers onboard a China Eastern flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong were left shaken and confused on Sunday morning after an uncontained engine failure left the cabin vibrating violently until the Airbus A330 could get safely on the ground as the pilots diverted to Xiamen in the southeastern Fujian province.
China Eastern flight MU721 departed Shanghai at around 8:30 am on Sunday when one of the two Rolls-Royce Trent 772 engines suffered a sudden and catastrophic failure.
In this case, the engine failure is referred to as ‘uncontained’ because debris from the engine penetrated the engine casing. Uncontained engine failures can pose a serious risk to the aircraft and passengers, but it doesn’t appear as if the debris impacted the aircraft.
Information received by the Aviation Herald indicates that two of the engine’s fan blades suddenly ‘separated’ and were then flung through the engine casing.
Separation of the fan blades could be down to any number of reasons, including damage from debris sucked into the engine, metal fatigue or an engineering defect.
The engine failure caused the cabin to immediately start vibrating, causing the pilots to divert the six-year-old plane to Xiamen where it landed safely around 19 minutes later. There were no reports of any injuries onboard.
The damaged plane remains on the ground in Xiamen, but China Eastern was able to get the passengers on a new A330 to Hong Kong a few hours later.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.