Witnesses told the Guardian newspaper that “fuel was pouring out over the wings” as the plane sped towards the sea in an effort to offload fuel.

The flight made an emergency landing on Monday afternoon on the Azores island of Terceira, west of Portugal.

Following the incident, passengers raised concerns about whether the flight should have taken off at all, as it had been delayed due to technical problems at Charles de Gaulle airport.

It is reported that the smell of burning was already apparent on take-off, and that within two hours the flight diverted, heading for the nearest landing point available.

Swedish newspaper Expressen quotes Eden Victoria Erlandsson, a passenger on the plane, as saying “panic took over, the cabin crew were sweating and shouting, and people were crying and praying. It was total panic.”

The Guardian also reported that at least 50 of the Colombian nationals that were onboard the Air France flight have been refused permission to enter the Azores for lacking the correct visa documentation. They have apparently been told to spend the night on the floor of the arrivals lounge.

Picture: Getty