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The Australian Transport Safety Bureau was advised this afternoon of a serious incident involving a Qantas aircraft.

The aircraft, a Boeing 747-400 was operating a scheduled passenger service from Hong Kong to Melbourne Australia. At approximately 29,000 feet, the crew were forced to conduct an emergency descent after a section of the fuselage separated and resulted in a rapid decompression of the cabin. The crew descended the aircraft to 10,000 feet in accordance with established procedures and diverted the aircraft to Manila where a safe landing was carried out. The aircraft taxied to the terminal unassisted, where the passengers and crew disembarked. There were no reported injuries.

Initial information indicates that a section of the fuselage has separated in the area of the forward cargo compartment.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is dispatching a team of four investigators to Manila to assist local authorities with the investigation.

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Last update 01 April 2011