Qantas flight turns back to LA after leak 'floods aisles'

SYDNEY - A Qantas A380 superjumbo flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne turned back an hour after take-off when a water leak flooded the plane's aisles, the airline and passengers said Thursday.

Flight QF94 returned to Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday with a passenger describing a "raging torrent of water" running down the two-deck aircraft's stairs.

Qantas said while there were no safety concerns following the leak, the captain decided to turn back "in the interests of passenger comfort".

"Crew on board did everything they could to help customers, including moving them to unaffected areas and providing spare blankets so they could stay dry," Qantas said in a statement.

"We are liaising with Airbus to understand what caused this fault."

A Qantas spokeswoman added that passengers were put up in hotels for the night and engineers were working to fix the problem.

An Australian on the flight, Ken Price, told Fairfax Media "all the passengers in the middle rows, all the middle rows towards the back, started jumping up" an hour into the journey.

"We just saw all this water just flowing down from the overhead compartments. We were right at the back of the plane and the stairs to go up were just a raging torrent of water."

Hollywood actress Nicole Yvette Brown, who was also on the flight, told broadcaster CNN it was the "scariest thing I've ever seen" as the initial trickle of water turned into a gushing stream.

"All of a sudden it looked like a trickle at first and I thought someone had spilled like a soda or a pop or something," the star of cult comedy TV show Community said.

"And then it just got bigger and bigger and filled up both aisles and it literally was like a river running down the aisles of the plane."