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Distressed plane lands in Singapore after debris found on island

By the CNN Wire Staff
A troubled Qantas Airbus A380 plane seen after an emergency landing at the Changi International airport in Singapore on Thursday.
A troubled Qantas Airbus A380 plane seen after an emergency landing at the Changi International airport in Singapore on Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Photos show part of the plane's cowling torn off
  • More than 400 aboard the plane
  • Airline: There was no crash
  • Airline will not say whether debris found on island is from plane

(CNN) -- A Qantas plane that had one of its four engines shut down mid-flight landed safely in Singapore on Thursday morning, the airline said.

The airline, in a statement, did not say whether debris that fell on the western Indonesian island of Batam was from the plane.

Local television stations showed small amount of debris with red-white markings. Pictures of the Airbus 380 after it landed showed the cowling -- or the covering of the engine -- torn off in the back half.

Earlier, Tatang Kurnia, the head of the country's Transport Safety Board, told Metro TV that debris fell of a plane headed to Singapore.

But Qantas, Australia's national airline, would only confirm that a plane with 433 passengers and 26 crew members on board developed engine trouble in one of its four engines soon after takeoff.

Flight QF32, en route to Sydney from Singapore, turned back and landed safely in Singapore's Changi Airport, the airline said.

"Some media reports suggested the aircraft had crashed. These reports are incorrect. No Qantas aircraft has crashed," the airline said.

Trifuadi, a security officer at an engineering firm in Batam, said he heard a loud explosion and saw smoke coming out of the engine of a plane flying overhead.

Shortly afterward, debris fell from the plane to the ground, said Trifuadi, who like many Indonesians go by one name.

Ulf Waschbusch, who was on his way to Australia for the first time, said the crew kept passengers apprised of what was happening.

"We all stayed pretty calm," he told CNN. "It was an almost eerie calm."

In August, a Qantas flight bound for Sydney from San Francisco, California, was forced to return to San Francisco after one of its engines developed mechanical problems, the airline said at the time. The flight landed safely.

CNN's Nicky Robertson, Judy Kwon, Mia Anngre and Christabelle Fombu contributed to this report

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