Terrified passengers praise flight crew after Rex engine catches fire in Far South Coast skies


An emergency in the skies of the Far South Coast last night, with the plane's engine blowing up during the flight from Sydney to Merimbula. 

Just as Rex Airlines had hoped all questions about its safety record had been put to bed, an emergency landing of flight ZL139 one of it's SAAB 340B planes, at Merimbula airport last night, after an engine caught on fire, will cause concern among the flying community. 

 Awaiting the plane, which had flown from Sydney, were Fire and Rescue crews from Merimbula and Eden, three RFS crews plus police and ambulance.

The NSW Fire and Rescue team from Merimbula reported on their Facebook page that "on arrival a 34 seat Aircraft with 19 passangers and 3 crew was on final approach with an engine fire in starboard engine. Aircraft crew had shut down engine extinguishing the fire before making an emergency landing. Aircraft landed safely."

"Passengers were evacuated to terminal to be accessed by Ambulance crews. FRNSW accessed the engine with the use of a thermal imaging camera and declared the aircraft safe. An excellent job by flight crews averted a more serious incident."

People on board have reported being terrified by the incident. It's understood the engine blew up just out of Moruya and was in a holding pattern, dumping fuel into the ocean off Tathra, before attempting the emergency landing. Passengers also praised the steady actions of crew. 

It's unclear what will happen with the flights scheduled out of Merimbula this morning.