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Witness reports

Evan Burton

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A classic example of why isolated witness reports should be treated with caution.

QANTAS flight QF32, an A380, was enroute from Singapore to Sydney. Shortly after taking off from Singapore, it suffered a massive failure of one of the engines, resulting in substantial damage to the engine. It landed safely shortly after the incident occurred.

What were some of the witness reports? What did the media say?

Kompas, a leading Indonesia newspaper, had reported on its website that it was "suspected that a Qantas plane exploded in the air near Batam".

The website report provided no source for the story.

An eyewitness, Hana, told Indonesia's Metro television that she saw a plane that was on fire overhead before hearing a loud explosion.

Meanwhile, Elfhinta radio quoted a police officer in Batam, Eryana, saying some of the plane had been found.

"We are still collecting debris," he said.

"It looked like a big plane. Like a Boeing 737 – 400. It looks like Qantas because of the red and white colour."

Reuters reported: Qantas told CNBC television that a plane that crashed near Singapore was an Airbus A380. No other details were immediately available.

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