Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 Suffers Uncontained Engine Failure

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 has suffered an engine failure when taking off from Dakar airport en route to Addis Ababa. The flight crew was able to salvage the situation and land the plane successfully, with all passengers and crew escaping unscathed.

An Ethiopian Boeing 767. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

What are the details?

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET908 was inbound to Addis Ababa (Ethiopian’s hub) when the Boeing 767 suffered a sudden uncontained engine failure, as reported by Aero News.

The shocking part of that sentence is the ‘uncontained’ part. Generally, when an aircraft suffers engine failure, the resulting problems are contained within the engine. This might be a fuel leak, friction burns or an electrical problem, but generally does not harm the passengers or the main fuselage. Parts of the engine might break off, but they don’t leave the engine container.

However, an ‘uncontained’ engine failure is when the engine begins to break up. Fragments of parts can exit the engine casing. This is clearly far more serious and incident, posing danger to both the passengers on board and people on the ground.

The aircraft had just started its initial ascent from Dakar Blaise Diagne (Senegal) to Bamako (Mali) with 90 souls on board when reportedly the right-hand engine caught on fire. One passenger remarked to The Aviation Herald that they heard a loud noise and then the air conditioners started to spew smoke into the cabin.

Fortunately, in this case, the pilot and his team were able to turn the plane around and complete an emergency landing eight minutes later. The aircraft had enough power to vacate the runway and make it to a free taxiway.

Brave firefighters were able to put the blaze out and then passengers disembarked via stairs on the left doors.

INCIDENT / Looks like uncontained engine failure, Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER (ET-AMG), flight #ET908 to Bamako….

Posted by Aeronews on Tuesday, 8 October 2019

What has been the airline’s response?

So far all we have heard from the airline is that the aircraft ‘suffered a mechanical problem’. It issued this statement via its Twitter feed.

The airport additionally reported to The Aviation Herald that they saw the engine on fire during the ascent.

Simple Flying has reached out to the airline for more details, but as of yet has not received a reply. At this stage, we don’t know for sure what caused the accident.

There have been some criticisms online about the actions of the pilot. Some complain that pilots took time to taxi off the runway (some suggest that they should have sat still and let the firefighters come to them) and others are upset that passengers had to wait for firefighters to finish the job before leaving the aircraft.

“The fire would have been obvious to the fire crew, ATC and probably cabin crew so it can’t have been a surprise to them. Can’t believe they did that…” – A commentator on The Aviation Herald.

What do you think? Did the cabin crew and pilots do the right thing? Let us know in the comments.