A Philippines-bound Qantas jet had to make an emergency landing at Sydney airport in Australia Saturday because of a leak in the wing, the third mid-air emergency for the carrier in a week.
The captain of Qantas Flight 19, a Boeing 767-300 with 200 passengers on board, had to dump fuel over the ocean and then circle for about an hour before he was able to land the jumbo jet safely, according to news.com.au.
A hydraulic leak in the controls in the wing was detected on the plane shortly after it took off from Sydney International Airport at 1:20 p.m. en route to Manila, a spokeswoman for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) told news.com.au.
Qantas said the leak wasn't apparent prior to takeoff.
"On inspection, engineers determined that fluid was coming from the spoiler actuator that was not evident before departure," a Qantas spokeswoman told AAP.
The captain requested emergency clearance, and landed about 3 p.m.
Passengers said the plane's altitude remained unusually low after it lifted off.
"About five minutes after taking off, it was very obvious the plane was very low in the sky. ... It was very strange," one person on board told Fairfax. "For 45 minutes, we did not know what was going on."
Qantas and air officials denied that the three emergencies in the past week were an indication of larger safety issues for the carrier, and said there was no link among the incidents nor was there a lowering of safety standards.
Last Saturday, an oxygen cylinder blew a huge hole into the fuselage of a Qantas jet flying from Hong Kong to Melbourne. The plane had to make an emergency landing in Manila.
On Tuesday, a 737-800 en route from Adelaide, Australia, to Melbourne had to return 37 minutes after takeoff because a door opened during flight.