Cathay Pacific: Engine Malfunction Causing Sparks Leads To Emergency Landing In Bali

A Cathay Pacific flight from Perth to Hong Kong experienced an engine malfunction mid route which resulted in the flight diverting to Bali.

CX B777

Upon deplaning which took about 2 hours to commence passengers were forced to pay their own Visa on Arrival in Bali to collect their baggage and be re-accommodated. There are different statements about the cause of the diversion ranging from an engine fire to an engine failure associated with sparks.

Australian Channel 9 News had a report about the incident (access here) where some passengers gave their statement of the event.

Cathay Pacific has disputed passengers’ claims an engine fire forced a Perth to Hong Kong flight to make an emergency landing.

Passengers on board Cathay Pacific Flight CX 170, which departed Perth at 11.55pm last night, described hearing a “huge bang” while the flight was en route, followed by sparks and flames coming from the right-side engine.

While the airline has now confirmed “some passengers saw sparks and flames from outside the window”, it stopped short of describing those effects as an engine fire.

 “We can confirm that what witnesses saw was a light due to the engine failure, not a real fire.”

In a previous statement, Cathay Pacific confirmed that flight CX170 was diverted to Denpasar “due to a No. 2 engine defect”.

The airline also confirmed that an emergency landing was declared following the shutdown of the engine, adding “fire services met the aircraft on arrival as a precautionary measure”.

So far Cathay’s version of the story. The passengers had something to add to this.

Emma Dade, a passenger who was on the flight with two friends, said they heard two bangs about three hours into the flight.

“I saw sparks coming from the right side engine (and) passengers alerted cabin crew and we were advised shortly after that there was a problem with the engine and it had been turned off and we were diverting to Bali,” she told 9news.com.au.

A business class passenger who wanted to remain anonymous said he saw no fire in the affected engine, but said there was a “hell of a bang”.

“Within business class at least the crew were calm, and carried on with their duties in the utmost professional manner.

“On landing the passengers applauded that we landed safely. We sat on the plane for two hours and were served breakfast and continue to watch our movies!

I’d say the experience in Business Class doesn’t necessarily (or obviously) reflect what the passengers in the back of the plane experienced so I’d take this statement with a grain of salt.

Where both passengers are consistent is the loud bang which occurred, starting the chain of events.

The coordination on the ground however sounds quite interesting and a bit chaotic to me.

“We had to wait in the plane on the tarmac for two hours before being able to leave the plane and all passengers had to pay for an Indonesia entry visa to collect our baggage which we were told could be reimbursed later.”

“However on disembarking chaos began. Cathay dos not have enough cash in Bali to process our arrival so to clear immigration we were told we had to pay the $35 ourselves.

“On arrival (we) had no cash/change so we had to negotiate with other passengers our own change so we could come into the country. Shambles to be honest. No one from Cathay to be seen or heard from since disembarking.”

I’m a bit disturbed by this lack of care and organization. Bali is an airport where Cathay Pacific and Dragonair fly to daily and they don’t have sufficient cash available for an emergency, respectively any connections to Indonesian officials to take care of this at a later time? The fact alone that passengers who just had an emergency landing have to deal with such things is ridiculous, there should be agreements in place that such fees are waived in circumstances like this. None of the passengers intended to visit or stay in Indonesia so I don’t see a basis for them to collect the fee.

It is also understood Cathay Pacific provided hotel accommodation for passengers and is assisting those stranded in Denpasar.

The matter of people not having cash should have been a non issue since the last time I was in Bali I was able to pay by credit card (now this is history for me due to a new visa waiver agreement). I wonder how long people had to stay in Bali considering the frequency of flights from there.

Conclusion

The carrier obviously has an interest in downplaying the story as much as possible even though I doubt there would be blatant lying involved considering that an investigation will take place. The engine malfunction scenario sounds plausible and thankfully all passengers are crew are well.

It should be interesting to wait for the cause of the engine malfunction. Remember when the Airbus A380 was taken out of service after one of their Rolls Royce engines exploded on a Qantas flight?

 

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