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Qantas Flight QF-30

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Melbourne, AUThree-hundred and forty-six passengers and 19 crew who were aboard the Qantas flight QF-30 from London to Melbourne last Friday, July 25 are still reeling from the terrifying experience. When passengers saw the gaping hole in the plane' s fusilage, they realized how close they came to a plane crash, and how lucky they were to be alive. The Australian Herald reported that when they disembarked, some passengers vomited and looked "really scared".

Plane CockpitAmazingly, there were no injuries but the psychological damage is untold. Wouldn't you be a little apprehensive to board another plane?

Passengers say they heard a loud bang just before a rapid decompression in the cabin. The crew brought the plane down 10,000 feet and Captain John Francis Bartels, whom passengers have hailed as a hero, guided the plane to an emergency landing in Manilla.

The Qantas pilots made the emergency landing after a large hole appeared in the side of the plane at 29,000 feet. The plane descended rapidly which caused the main cabin to decompress; debris was tossed throughout the cabin and oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. Part of the ceiling collapsed and part of the floor gave way, exposing the cargo hold underneath the cabin.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it is too early to speculate the cause of the three-meter hole in part of the fuselage and deny earlier reports that rust caused the damage, even though aviation sources said engineers noted that the plane had "a lot" of corrosion. Qantas engineers now say the hole near the wing may have been caused by an exploding canister or fire extinguisher.

Qantas Airways has one of the highest safety records in the airline industry; remember Dustin Hoffman's autistic character in "Rainman"? He would only fly Qantas because it never had a fatal jet crash. He would likely choose another airline today: since September 1999, Qantas has had six 'incidents'.

Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon said the aircraft had undergone major maintenance offshore and he believed it could be repaired and put back into service. As of December 2007, Qantas and its subsidiaries were operating a fleet of 216 aircraft servicing 140 destinations in 37 countries, according to the company's website.

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