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An Airbus A380 “flew 14 hours” with a hole in the side

(CNN) — Passengers traveling on an Emirates flight to Brisbane, Australia were shocked when they saw a gaping hole in the side of the plane as they disembarked.

Those on board the Airbus A380 traveling from Dubai to the Australian city noticed the damage as they exited the plane after the roughly 14-hour flight on July 1.

airbus a380 hole

The hole was caused by a tire explosion. Credit: Avherald.com

Images of the plane shared on social media reveal the extent of the puncture, which was due to a tire bursting caused by a “technical failure” during the flight, according to the airline.

One of the passengers on board described the “terrifying” incident on Twitter, which took place “during cruising altitude”.

“It was absolutely terrifying at first and the crew knew something serious could have happened – they immediately contacted the cockpit,” wrote Andrew Morris, an English professor at Britain’s Loughborough University.

“Soon after, they were back to normal. Their calm demeanor was reassuring: they knew it wasn’t catastrophic.”

Although it is not clear how long the plane had been in the air when the problem occurred, some reports suggest it could have been around 45 minutes of flight time.

technical failure

The commercial aviation website Aviation Herald reports that the crew notified air traffic controllers at Brisbane airport of the situation in advance and requested that the plane be attended to by emergency services upon landing.

Emirates later issued a statement stressing that the breakage did not affect “the fuselage, frame or structure of the aircraft.”

“Our flight EK430 flying from Dubai to Brisbane on July 1 experienced a technical failure,” the statement read.

“One of the aircraft’s 22 tires broke during cruise, causing damage to a small part of the aerodynamic fairing, which is an outer panel or skin of the aircraft.”

The airline went on to confirm that the aircraft had landed safely in Australia, and the passengers had disembarked as planned. Damage to the exterior of the wide-body aircraft has already been repaired.

“The fairing has been completely replaced and has been reviewed and cleared by engineers, Airbus and all relevant authorities,” adds Emirates.

“The safety of our passengers and crew has always been our top priority.”

The incident came just days after the much-loved A380 superjumbo, in decline before the pandemic, was given a reprieve of sorts, when German airline Lufthansa announced plans to redeploy the plane from the summer of 2023.

The Airbus A380 has been on its way out since Airbus announced in 2019 that it would stop production of the airliner.

CNN has contacted Emirates for further comment.

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