Source AP ©

Engine problems lead passenger plane to making emergency landing at Cape Town airport

A plane with more than 100 people aboard made an emergency landing in South Africa after an engine fell off during takeoff in Cape Town.

The Boeing 737, belonging to domestic airline Nationwide and bound for Johannesburg, touched down safely after airport fire and rescue services hurriedly cleared the debris from the runway.

The right engine "separated from the wing. The aircraft continued to climb out," the airline said in a statement. "The aircraft returned and landed at Cape Town International Airport without further incident."

One of the passengers, Pretoria businesswoman Ronel Derman, told the South African Press Association that she had been in a seat directly over the wing and a passenger seated next to her was looking out of the window.

"I heard this huge bang, and he said, 'That's our engine that's just fallen off.' I couldn't believe it. He had to repeat it to me," she told SAPA.

"The plane started to shake a bit, but what was amazing was the staff and passengers: everybody was so calm. There was no hysteria, no nothing, it was amazing. The guy next to me seemed to know something about planes. He said, 'Don't worry: the plane will go with one engine.' So I thought, 'that's OK."'

Derman said the plane flew around to dump fuel but made a smooth landing.

She said that when the plane had come to a stop surrounded by fire engines, the pilot walked into the cabin, and all the passengers cheered.

The Civil Aviation Authority's executive manager for air safety investigations, Gilbert Thwala, said investigators were on their way from Johannesburg to Cape Town to investigate the incident, according to SAPA.

Six other flights were diverted while the airport was shut down.

Last week, the airport was shut down for several hours when an SAA Airbus became stuck in sand on the edge of a runway after landing.