A freight plane set to depart Macau yesterday afternoon returned to ground after take-off due to engine failure, the Civil Aviation Authority (AACM) confirmed.
Eyewitnesses notified the Times about the sighting of ambulances and fire engines under a plane on one of the two connection bridges at the Macau International Airport (MFM).
Dozens of fire engines were also sighted near the Taipa Maritime Terminal at Pak On, Taipa, as per videos posted online by social media users.
Photos posted by social media users, aviation enthusiasts and other trade media have captured scenes of a fire at the left-center engine on the four-engine Boeing 747F aircraft. Technically, a 747 aircraft is capable of flying with only three functional engines.
Inquiries were made to the Fire Services Bureau (CB), the AMCM and the MFM’s administration company. Not long after the inquiries were made, the CB replied and confirmed that an incident had taken place at the MFM, which triggered a specialized contingency mechanism. It necessitated fire engines to be on alert nearby.
Three to four hours after the incident was first witnessed, the Times received a public reply posted by the AMCM to its website, explaining the event.
It confirmed that yesterday afternoon “a cargo aircraft destined to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from Macau, with flight number BSC4053 and aircraft type Boeing 747-200F, departed from Macau International Airport at 13:16 but then encountered a failure in one of the engines sometime after and returned to Macau International Airport.”
Furthermore, the AMCM confirmed that the contingency mechanism was enacted. “The cargo aircraft eventually landed safely on the runway at 13:59 and was towed to the apron for inspection. The incident did not cause any injuries to the crew members. The Emergency Operations Centre was deactivated at 14:44 and the airport resumed normal operations hence after.”
No reply has been received from the MFM administration company.
Data from the online flight tracking platform Flightradar24.com showed that after take-off from the southbound Runway 16, the aircraft U-turned to its intended destination, before making another U-turn to go southwards. Several other turns were maneuvered to burn fuel so that the aircraft could be below the maximum landing weight to conduct an emergency landing safely.