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China Eastern A330 Engine Failure Leaves Passengers in Shock

There were no injuries reported after the uncontained engine failure over China.

A China Eastern A330-300 (Photo: Triple Tree, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

A China Eastern Airbus A330-300,  performing flight MU-721 from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to Hong Kong International Airport, when about 30 nautical miles north of Xiamen, China suffered a left-hand engine failure. The aircraft, registered as B-8970, was equipped with Trent 772 engines.

Two of the fan blades got damaged and ejected through the top of the engine, leaving the rest intact. The aircraft suffered from severe vibration until landing at Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport.

Aviation safety company JACDEC posted footage of the incident. Initially, the video was submitted on the Chinese social media platform Weibo by a passenger onboard under the username Liam_1990.

No Injuries Reported

The incident is referred to as uncontained as some parts of the engine had left the casing. The severity of such a case of failure rises significantly as the debris might pose a grave risk to the aircraft or even passengers directly. Thankfully, nobody onboard was injured and it appears that the airplane was not damaged further. Passengers onboard the flight experienced a tense twenty minutes of descending towards the diversion airport accompanied by a potent burning smell.

China Eastern was able to deploy another aircraft to complete the service. Another Airbus A330-300 carried the passengers from Xiamen to Hong Kong arriving with an accumulated delay of just under eight hours over the scheduled time.

Flight MU721 path from take-off until the diversion landing (Photo: Flightradar24)

Seeing pieces of interior barely holding together is definitely something disturbing when flying thousands of feet above the ground. The cause of the vibration in the cabin is resonance. It is a phenomenon that is the easiest to understand while looking at a demonstration. In short, each object and group of objects have their natural frequency of oscillations.

Filip Kopeć


  • Filip Kopeć

    A passionate aviation enthusiast that started off his career as an aerospace engineer, but found his true calling on the commercial side of the airline business. Now as a finance guy among avgeeks and an avgeek among finance guys, he has experience working in the Revenue Divisions of three airlines. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, but admittedly sometimes is more about the journey than the destination.

    View all posts

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