(CNN) — Passengers traveling on an Emirates flight to Brisbane, Australia were stunned to see a huge hole in the side of the plane as they disembarked.
Those aboard the Airbus A380 from Dubai to the Australian city became aware of the damage as they exited the plane after the roughly 14-hour flight on July 1.
Images of the plane shared on social media reveal the extent of the puncture, which the airline said was due to a ruptured tire caused by a “technical error” during the journey.
One of the passengers on board has since described the “terrifying” incident on Twitter, which took place “during the cruise”.
“It was absolutely terrifying at first and the cabin crew knew something serious had happened – they had immediate contact with the cockpit,” wrote Andrew Morris, an English professor at Britain’s Loughborough University.
“Shortly after, they went back to normal. Their calm demeanor was reassuring — they knew it wasn’t catastrophic.”
While it’s unclear exactly how long the plane was in the air when the problem occurred, some reports suggest it was in flight for about 45 minutes.
The commercial aviation website Aviation Herald reports that the crew notified air traffic controllers at Brisbane Airport in advance of the situation and requested emergency landing assistance.
Emirates later released a statement stressing that the fracture did not affect “the fuselage, frame or structure of the aircraft”.
“Our flight EK430, which flew from Dubai to Brisbane on July 1, suffered a technical failure,” the statement said.
“One of the aircraft’s 22 tires ruptured during the cruise, damaging a small portion of the aerodynamic fairing, an exterior panel or the aircraft’s skin.”
The airline further confirmed that the plane had landed safely in Australia and that the passengers had disembarked as scheduled. Damage to the exterior of the widebody aircraft has since been repaired.
“The fairing has been fully replaced, checked and approved by engineers, Airbus and all relevant authorities,” Emirates added.
“The safety of our passengers and crew has always been our top priority.”
The Airbus A380 has been on its way out since Airbus announced in 2019 that it would cease production of the aircraft.
CNN has contacted Emirates for further comment.
Top Image Credit: Avherald.com