Qantas Airways Flight No. 74 departed SFO around 11:10 p.m. with 212 passengers and 19 crew members. It had been in the air for about 45 minutes when the engine failure occurred. It landed safely and without any injuries at about 12:45 a.m.
The failure caused a gaping hole in engine number one of the four engine 747.
Passengers reported hearing a thud which was followed by a shower of sparks and some fire inside the engine.
"All I could see was just a shower of sparks. But it was remarkably calm, I was really surprised that during the whole sort of fireworks show that there was no screaming and no very obvious signs of panic" said passenger Paul Irangio.
The pilot then dumped the fuel out over the Pacific. While he was doing that, there was some bouncing around as the weight aboard the plane shifted.
Quantas will reschedule those who were on the flight. Hotels have been found for the 212 passengers. The passengers were at the airport until about 3:45 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The event has not affected any other travel in or out of SFO.