Springboks in flight scare
July 15, 2011
Springboks skipper John Smit was one of those to express his relieft following the air scare © Getty Images
The Springoks' preparations for their opening Tri-Nations clash with the Wallabies took a dramatic turn on Friday night when their scheduled flight to Australia was forced to turn back due to engine failure.
The flight from Johannesburg was forced to return to the OR Tambo International airport after one of the plane's four engines over-heated and subsequently failed less than two hours into the flight.
The team was travelling on Qantas Airways flight QF64, a Boeing 747, but returned safely according to South African Rugby Union communications manager Andy Colquhoun who has since confirmed that the team will be staying in Johannesburg overnight before taking another flight.
A few of the squad relayed news of the drama with captain John Smit commenting: "Wow, just had to do an emergency landing at OR Tambo,we lost an engine after take off but safely landed now!My second safe emergency landing!"
Assistant coach Gary Gold said: "All cool thanks, think we here for the night bud. Irony also that their is a petrol strike in jhb and we just dumped 65 tons of fuel to land."
Qantas Airways spokesperson Olivia Wirth commented: "An engine on flight QF64 (Boeing 744) from Johannesburg to Sydney experienced an increase in vibration and temperature this evening shortly after take off at 18:00. In line with procedures, the pilots shut down the engine, and as a safety precaution returned to Johannesburg.
"The aircraft had a normal landing not long afterwards and the passengers disembarked. The aircraft has four engines and can safely fly on three engines. We are currently looking at options to get the aircraft back in the air as soon as possible.
"We are focused on looking after our passengers on-board and have provided them with accommodation and meals. There was no issue with safety, and media reports that there was an explosion are incorrect."
The Springboks play Australia in their opening match of the Tri-Nations in Sydney on July 23, before they travel to Wellington for the second and final match of their away leg against New Zealand on July 30.
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