While this is no doubt a scary experience, airliners are actually designed so that if too much force is put on the engine, it will fall off the wing. Modern Airliners are designed to be able to fly with one engine failed and if something goes wrong, it's better to lose an engine than a wing. You need both of those to fly.
It was a great job by the crew to safely land the plane. None of the 106 on board were injured.
ENGINE FALLS OFF PASSENGER PLANE DURING TAKEOFF
Daily Mail - Nov 8th, 2007
Terrified passengers were forced to adopt emergency brace positions after an engine FELL OFF their aeroplane during takeoff.
Crash landing procedures were rushed into action when machinery separated from the right wing and plummeted on to the runway.
The Nationwide Boeing 737 plane had been taking off from Cape Town Airport, South Africa, at 3.30pm on Wednesday when the drama unfolded.
The Damaged Plane. The Circle shows where the engine fell from
The plane, carrying 106 passengers, was continuing to climb as debris fell to the ground and the pilot was instructed to turn back and make an emergency landing.
Airport fire and rescue services rushed to the runway to clear the wreckage before the plane came down.
The Flight CE723, which had been bound for Johannesburg, eventually touched down safely as passengers braced themselves for a crash landing.
The Engine that fell - Luckily it's not on a house!
South African businesswoman Ronel Derman, 46, said she had been in a seat directly over the wing.
"I heard this huge bang, and the man next to me said: 'That's our engine that's just fallen off'.
I couldn't believe it. He had to repeat it to me," she said.
"The plane started to shake a bit, but what was amazing was the staff and passengers. Everybody was so calm. There was no hysteria, no nothing, it was amazing."
While the plane was making a wide turn and dumping fuel, cabin crew took passengers through the emergency procedures, getting them to take off their shoes and practice bending down.
"They didn't know what to expect. It could have been a hard landing. It could have been anything," said Ms Derman.
"I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life, ever," she said.
When the plane had come to a stop surrounded by fire engines, the pilot walked into the cabin, and passengers cheered.
The damage is inspected
The airline said: "At take-off it was reported that the right hand engine separated from the wing. The aircraft continued to climb out.
"The aircraft returned and landed at Cape Town International Airport without further incident."
The Civil Aviation Authority's executive manager for air safety investigations, Gilbert Thwala, said investigators were looking into the incident.
No passengers or crew were injured. Passengers were taken to a holding area where Nationwide representatives and trauma counsellors were on hand.