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Hole forces Qantas plane to land

A Qantas Airways plane made an emergency landing in Manila on Friday after plunging thousands of feet and losing cabin pressure during a flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne.

world Updated: Jul 25, 2008 22:42 IST

A Qantas Airways plane made an emergency landing in Manila on Friday after plunging thousands of feet and losing cabin pressure during a flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne.

Passengers reported hearing a loud bang before the aircraft rapidly lost altitude and said the Boeing 747-400 had a hole the size of a mini-van in its undercarriage when it landed in the Philippine capital.

An urgent investigation is underway into what punched a hole of about three metres in diametre into the fuselage near the right wing.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the plane, carrying 346 passengers and 19 crew, was now undergoing an inspection, where luggage could be clearly seen jutting out of the hole.

Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon said the flight crew performed emergency procedures after oxygen masks were deployed and there were no reports of any injuries.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the plane had been flying at 29,000 feet when the crew were forced into an emergency descent after a section of the fuselage separated and resulted in rapid decompression of the cabin. It said the crew descended the aircraft to 10,000 feet “in accordance with established procedures” and diverted the plane safely to Manila. Agencies