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 An Air France A380 superjumbo carrying more than 500 people made an emergency landing in Canada on Saturday after suffering "serious damage" to one of its engines, with passengers recounting hearing a loud bang followed by violent shaking.

Video and photos posted on social media showed extensive damage to the outer starboard engine, with part of its external cowling apparently sheered away.

The double-decker wide body aircraft carrying 496 passengers and 24 crew had taken off from Paris bound for Los Angeles and was several hours into the flight when the incident occurred.

Passenger Sarah Eamigh told Canadian broadcaster CBC News she heard a "boom" followed by a sudden drop in altitude.

"The cabin started vibrating. Someone screamed, and from there we knew something was wrong," she said.

"We saw the cabin crew walking through the aisles quickly, and we heard an announcement from the captain that said one of our engines had an explosion."

The plane was diverted as it passed over Greenland and landed safely at a military airport in Goose Bay, eastern Canada, at 1542 GMT, a spokesman for Air France said.

"All of the 520 people on board were evacuated with no injuries," the spokesman told AFP.

The cause of the problem was not immediately clear, but David Rehmar, a former aircraft mechanic who was on the flight, told the BBC that he thought a fan failure may have been to blame.

"You heard a loud 'boom', and it was the vibration alone that made me think the engine had failed," he said.

Rehmar said that for a few moments, he thought "we were going to go down".

 
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