Jet engine falls apart mid-air on its way from San Francisco to Honolulu

IMAGINE on a flight where the engine begins to fall apart in mid-air .....

Passengers who boarded the United Airlines could relate to this horrifying experience.

United Flight 1175 left San Francisco International Airport at 9.30am on Tuesday.

The five-hour-plus journey was going well until the parts of the Boeing 777-222 aircraft starts to peel off 40 minutes before it was due to land.

"There was a loud bang ... and then the plane really started shaking. It was like rattling and the plane was kind of shaking like boom, boom, boom," said passenger Allison Sudiacal.

Passengers were tucked in their seats with their heads bent, chanting "Brace, brace, brace!

Despite the scary moments' mid-air, the plane landed fairly smoothly at 12.38pm local time.

"They kept us informed. They let us know that we had to brace for impact in case there was a rough landing. It was scary. But they did a really good job," said Sudiacal, who was travelling with her husband, four-month-old son and parents-in-law.

United Airlines issued a statement following the incident, which reads:

"United flight 1175 travelling to Honolulu from San Francisco landed safely after the pilots called for an emergency landing because of a loss of the engine cowling (the covering of the engine). Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft. The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally."

It's not the first time in recent memory an aircraft engine broke apart mid-flight.

In October 2017, an Air France Airbus A380 suffered an engine failure which caused the front of one of its four engines to come off mid-flight while on its way from Paris to Los Angeles. Fortunately, no injuries were reported and the plane was able to divert to Goose Bay in Canada.