Boks safe after mid-air scare
Johannesburg - The Springbok rugby team's flight to Australia was forced to return shortly after departing from Johannesburg on Friday night due to engine failure.
"The Qantas flight on which the team was travelling was forced to return to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg less than two hours after take-off," the SA Rugby Union said in a statement.
Saru said the third engine on the Boeing 747 overheated, but it returned and landed safely in Johannesburg. The team would remain in Johannesburg overnight.
SARU says the plane returned safely to Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport, landing less than two hours after its departure.
"There was a loud bang and a bump and the captain told us we would be unable to continue our journey to Australia as engine No. 3 had failed," team spokesman Andy Colquhoun said. "So we dumped fuel and returned to Johannesburg. Everyone is fine."
Colquhoun added that the 28-man squad would stay overnight in Johannesburg and was waiting for advice from Qantas on when they would be able to travel to Australia.
Several Springboks and Springbok staff members reported the incident on the social network Twitter.
Alistair Hargreaves - “@Al_Hargreaves: So Quantas have to send another aircraft which means 1 more night in jhb. @GaryGoldrugbyiq reckons he checked flames coming out the engine!”“@Al_Hargreaves: "The Springboks have just landed... In joburg. One of the engines failed and we had to turn around. Beautiful start to the trip! #hack”
John Smit - “@JohnSmit123: 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!”
Ashley Johnson - @ashj1605: Back in joburg!! Our nr3 enjin exploded with a big bang!!!
Gary Gold - “@GaryGoldrugbyiq: Wish I never watched #carteblanche on the #quantas 380 incident! Our engine just blew on take off and we just returned to Jhb, not much fun!”
Sports journalist Brendan Nel, speaking to rugby writer JJ Harmse had the following to say - “@BrendenNel: Just spoke to jj harmse who was on the plane. Says it wasn't that bad, they were on a 747 and not an A380...”“@BrendenNel: Jj reckons it felt "like a speed bump" not too bad and they only knew when it was announced over the intercom.”
South Africa is scheduled to kick off the Tri-Nations against Australia in Sydney next Saturday July 23.
The Springboks play Australia in their opening match of the Tri-Nations in Sydney next weekend, before they travel to Wellington for the second and final match of their away leg against New Zealand.