A passenger on board a Virgin Australia flight has described the moment part of the plane’s left-hand wing came loose and began flapping about in the wind.
A passenger on board a Virgin Australia flight has described the disconcerting moment part of the plane's left-hand wing came loose and began flapping about in the wind.
The flight, which took off from Brisbane Airport for Melbourne just before 6pm yesterday, was diverted mid-air and redirected back to Brisbane due to an "engineering issue", a Virgin Australia spokesperson said.
Bill Mauger, who was on board the flight with his wife, told nine.com.au he was seated near the left-hand wing and noticed something was wrong soon after take-off.
"As we were starting to get some altitude I looked over to the wing and it looked like there was something caught in it. It looked as though there was a bit of cardboard," he said.
"I thought that is a bit weird. But then I took a bit of a closer look and it was actually part of the wing peeling away.
"It was quite a large chunk of wing flapping in the breeze."
Mr Mauger said he was prevented from getting any of the airline staff's attention straight away because everyone was strapped in for take-off, but as soon as the seat-belt sign went off he called over a flight attendant.
"I was waving to get her attention and she said, 'Yes, we've seen it, the captain is dealing with it.' She shut the conversation right down," Mr Mauger said.
An announcement was made that the plane would be turning around and going back to Brisbane because of technical difficulties, Mr Mauger said.
Virgin Australia said the problem with the plane's wing was an "engineering" issue, and not a "safety" one.
Nine.com.au understands the outer skin on the plane's left-hand wing, which is attached to the lower flap, partially separated from the lower flap while the plane was mid-air.
"This was not a safety issue, however the Captain made the decision to conduct an air return so the aircraft could be inspected by our engineers as a precautionary measure," the Virgin Australia spokesperson said.
Mr Mauger, who was travelling back to Melbourne after a holiday in Queensland, said his wife was a nervous flier.
"My wife was beside me having a kitten, because it was quite a big chunk flapping around," he said.
The plane was in the air for about an hour-and-a-half before landing back in Brisbane, he added.
"As we were sitting there back at the airport waiting to get off the plane, the engineers were there with lights, looking at the wing."
Passengers were put on another flight to Melbourne not long after disembarking from the plane, Mr Mauger said.
"They were very good. They had it all organised. By the time we got back to the airport it was about a 10-minute wait and they put us on another flight."
Virgin Australia said its engineers were rectifying the issue by repairing the flap.
Contact reporter Emily McPherson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/virgin-australia-flight-diverts-back-to-brisbane-after-wing-piece-comes-loose/aa934c7c-a3b4-4643-8b48-ff26108eb56b