Emirates Airbus A380 forced to make emergency landing, passengers say engine caught on fire

An Emirates A380 that suffered engine damage sits on the edge of the tarmac at Sydney international airport in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 12, 2012.

SYDNEY An Emirates flight from Sydney to Dubai made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff because of an engine fault, the airline said Monday.

Passengers reported hearing a loud bang and seeing flames coming from the engine of the Airbus A380 after it took off from Sydney on Sunday night. The plane landed without incident and passengers were rebooked on other flights. There were no injuries.

John Fothergill of Auckland, New Zealand, told Australia's News Limited that he saw flames shooting out of the engine and felt the plane shake.

"I thought it could have been lightning but then we saw flames come out of the engine," he said. "The whole interior of the A380 lit up."

Passenger Ross Clarke told Australia's Seven Network that he heard a loud bang.

"We were told by the pilot that something had gone wrong on the starboard engine, number three engine," he said.

An Emirates spokeswoman, speaking on the airline's customary condition of anonymity, denied there were flames in the engine.

"There was no fire, no flames, no smoke," she said. "There may have been a loud bang."

Investigators were looking into the cause of the engine fault, she said.

It is not the first time the new flagship of the Airbus fleet has been hit by in-flight problems.

Europe's air safety authority ordered checks in February on the entire global fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbo jets for cracks on parts inside the wings -- extending a previous order for nearly a third of the planes to be inspected.

Before that, a Rolls-Royce engine on a Qantas A380 burst into flames during flight in November 2010, prompting the engine maker to a series of checks on the Trent 900 engines involved.

The Emirates A380 which turned around on Monday uses different engines, made by a Rolls-Royce's competitor, a joint venture by General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.