Virgin flight makes emergency landing after ‘white vapour seen coming from engine’

Helen Coffey

A Virgin Australia flight has had to make an emergency landing after an “engineering issue” was reported and white vapour was seen coming from the aircraft’s right engine.

Flight VA69 from Melbourne to Hong Kong had been flying for around half an hour when the pilot made the decision to turn back rather than continue the nine-hour journey.

The captain requested a priority landing into Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport and turned the jet around somewhere over Swan Hill in Victoria, before touching down around an hour after take-off.

Video showing white vapour issuing from the engine prompted speculation that there had been a fuel leak.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson said: “We can confirm flight VA69, travelling from Melbourne to Hong Kong, made an air return and landed safely back in Melbourne this morning after an engineering issue was detected shortly after take-off.

“In accordance with standard operating procedures, the Captain made the decision to return to Melbourne as a precautionary measure and our engineers are currently inspecting the aircraft.

“The safety of our aircraft, guests and crew is our highest priority and we will work hard to have our guests on their way to Hong Kong as soon as possible.”

The plane was forced to return to Melbourne (Flightradar24)

Passengers have been rebooked to fly to Hong Kong tomorrow, according to local media reports.

It follows another flight making an emergency landing after a piece of the plane broke off and flew into the engine.

The malfunction occurred nearly an hour into Delta flight number 1425, after the plane had departed from Atlanta to Baltimore on Monday 8 July.

Passengers described smoke filling the cabin area before a tense emergency landing in North Carolina.

“After we heard the boom, we just saw all this smoke come up into the cabin and that’s when we really started freaking out,” one passenger told Baltimore’s WMAR-TV.