Air France Flight AF066 from Paris to Los Angeles on Saturday had been going smoothly, but that all changed more than five hours into the journey, when passengers heard a loud bang, then felt the plane shake and drop before cruising back up. The cause: One of the Airbus A380's four engines had exploded, right as the plane passed over part of Greenland, the New York Times reports. The captain sounded "shaken" as he made the announcement about 20 minutes later, one passenger notes, and so were the passengers, who ended up "white-knuckling" their chairs until the plane safely made an emergency landing two hours later at Goose Bay Airport in Labrador, Canada. An Air France statement confirmed the engine had suffered "serious damage."
An MSNBC reporter posted a picture on Twitter from a friend who was on the flight, showing the engine, whose protective covering had been "sheared away," per CNN, and which was spattered with a "brown substance." A CBC reporter posted a short video of the landing, which shows the damaged engine right next to a functional one. "That plane's broken," a man can be heard saying in the video. "The right motor's blown out." CNN notes that an engine failure like this is "incredibly rare," particularly at that point in the flight. Meanwhile, Air France praised its staff, noting in the statement that "the regularly trained pilots and cabin crew handled this serious incident perfectly." An investigation is in the works to discover the cause of the explosion, and the 500 or so passengers were set to be moved out of Goose Bay on new flights Sunday. (Read more Air France stories.)