An explosive engine failure on a Vietnamese airliner showered fiery debris across a runway at Melbourne Airport on Tuesday, preventing planes landing and taking off for 40 minutes, an official said.

The malfunction happened as Vietnam Airlines Flight 780 was taxiing to take off on a flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Anna Gillett said.

The twin-engine Airbus A330 came to rest at the intersection of the airport’s two runways, blocking all traffic for 40 minutes until 11.30 am local time, she said. No one was injured.

“The issue also resulted in some debris from the plane causing some spot fires on the runaway and surrounding area,” Ms. Gillett said.

“There are some rumours that the aircraft itself was ablaze with fire that’s not the case,” she added.

A passenger told ABC radio that the jet’s nose had begun lifting for takeoff when the engine failed, forcing the pilots to abort the flight.

An airline official in Melbourne declined to comment.

Ms. Gillett said the cause of the engine failure was under investigation.

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