THE pilot of the China Eastern Airlines flight that was forced to turn back to Sydney when a chunk of the engine sheared off may have dropped the F-bomb when he realised his plane was in danger.
Audio believed to be from the cockpit of a China Eastern flight that had to return to Sydney Airport implies the pilot misspoke when alerting the tower, AAP reports.
The Shanghai-bound flight, which departed Sydney around 8.30pm on Sunday, experienced an engine fault mid-air and returned about an hour after takeoff. In the audio, the pilot appears to misspeak when trying to alert authorities to the engine fault.
The phrase "engine number one fooked" can be heard twice in the audio. "Continue climb to 5000," the speaker later says.
The audio sent social media users into a spin with some suggesting the pilot was trying to say "fault" and others pointing to a slip of the tongue. "I'll go with 'fault' but amusing all the same," Dave Monds said of the audio posted to the Facebook page for aviation enthusiasts, Flight.
"Dropping the f-bomb on a new level," another person posted.
"Well, it got the message across ..." John Bartels added.
Travellers, who were on board Flight MU736, are expected to board another plane on Monday morning, reported the Daily Telegraph.
The plane departed from Sydney Airport at 8:30pm but just more than an hour later was forced to return.
A passenger told Channel 7's Sunrise a passenger sitting by the window could immediately see something was wrong.
"The Chinese fellow ... obviously saw what was going on because he was waving frantically to the staff to come and look at the window.
"There were only about three of four English-speaking people on the plane and the majority of announcements were made in Chinese. That was a little bit tricky."
Another said they were terrified. "It kind of smelt like burning. I was really scared. Thank God we're alive."
It's believed a strip of the outer casing of the Airbus A330's engine tore off leaving it partially exposed.
On Monday morning, China Eastern Airlines General Manager Kathy Zhang said the aircraft was under investigation and alternate arrangements would be made for passengers, reported the Telegraph.
"Last night on 11th June, MU 736 from Sydney to Shanghai encountered an engine problem after takeoff," she said.
"The crew observed the abnormal situation of the left engine and decided to return to Sydney airport immediately. All passengers and crew members were landed safely. They were then arranged accommodation by China Eastern Airlines."
"Today the passengers will be arranged to fly to their destinations on either China Eastern flights or other airlines. The returned aircraft is currently under investigation at Sydney airport."
The plane travelled as far south as Bulli when it was forced to radio the problem to Sydney Airport, and begin a winding return back over the water before making a hasty landing on the tarmac.
China Eastern MU736 Sydney-Shanghai safely returned to SYD after left engine failure. pic.twitter.com/edKRGQCcB6— ChinaAviationReview (@ChinaAvReview) June 11, 2017
The A330 was directed back to Sydney and vacated, while being closely followed by NSW emergency fire services.
Passengers reported hearing a "massive noise" on the left wing of the plane before it was turned back and grounded.
"I didn't realise, and no one behind the wing, realised how big the engine issue was. It looks like a pretty big dent … Just the fact we were close to it being worse," passenger Madeleine Frith told the Nine Network.
"I'm glad we're all safe."
All passengers were unharmed in the impromptu landing, and the carrier is currently investigating the incident.
Teh incident heralded a difficult few hours for Sydney Airport. A blanket of fog covered the city this morning is having a big impact on arrivals and departures.
One international flight had to be diverted to Brisbane, and ten domestic flights were cancelled - a combination of arrivals and departures.
But there are still planes taking off and landing, and Sydney Airport is advising passengers to check with their airline for any delays.
The fog isn't expected to clear until later this morning, so there will be delays if you're heading to the airport.