Quantas Airlines has grounded flights of its fleet of Airbus A380 jetliners after one of its planes lost an engine just six minutes into an overnight flight from Singapore to Sydney.
The superjumbo jet, which was carrying 459 passengers, was forced to land in Singapore Thursday when its engine blew out midflight, shooting flames and raining large metal chunks from the sky.
Witnesses on an Indonesian island heard a massive explosion and later found pieces of plane debris on the ground.
"My whole body just went to jelly," said passenger Tyler Wooster, who had watched as part of the skin of the wing peeled off, exposing foam and broken wires.
"I didn't know what was going to happen as we were going down, if we were going to be OK," Wooster told Australia's Nine Network news.
Thursday's close call was most serious midair incident involving the double-decker A380, the largest passenger jetliner in the world, since it debuted in October 2007.
Quantas said it will launch a full investigation of the incident.
"We will suspend those A380 services until we are completely confident that Qantas safety requirements have been met," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told a news conference in Sydney.
"This issue, an engine failure, has been one that we haven't seen before," he said. "So we are obviously taking it very seriously, because it is a significant engine failure."