The hole was later determined by the airline to have been caused by a ruptured tire resulting from a “technical fault” that occurred sometime during the flight. It is not known exactly when it occurred, however, some surmise it may have taken place towards the beginning of the flight, as early as 45 minutes into it.
Andrew Morris, a passenger on the flight, described the ordeal as “terrifying” and said it happened while the aircraft was cruising.
“Was absolutely terrifying at first and the cabin crew knew something serious may have happened,” he wrote in a post on Twitter. “Were immediately in contact with the cockpit.”
“Shortly after, they resumed as normal. Their calm demeanor was reassuring — they knew it was not catastrophic.”
The flight crew had made air traffic contollers at the Brisbane airport aware of the issue and asked that emergency services be there when they arrived. The plane safely landed on time and all passengers exited the plane unharmed.
In a statement, Emirates said, “Our flight EK430 flying from Dubai to Brisbane on July 1 experienced a technical fault. One of the aircraft’s 22 tires ruptured during cruise, causing damage to a small portion of the aerodynamic fairing, which is an outer panel or the skin of the aircraft.”
The statement also stated that the rupture had no effect on “the fuselage, frame or structure of the aircraft” and that the “fairing has been completely replaced, checked and cleared by engineers, Airbus and all relevant authorities.”
“The safety of our passengers and crew has always been our top priority,” the airline added.