A Singapore Airlines plane en route to Italy turned back two hours into the flight after experiencing engine problems only to burst into flames during its emergency landing.

The fire on Flight SQ368 was extinguished by emergency crews. There were no reported injuries to the 222 passengers and 19 crew members on the Boeing 777.

According to an airline statement the plane's right engine caught fire as it touched down at Changi Airport close to 7am local time (midnight BST) on Monday morning (27 June), with initial reports stating that there was a fuel leak in one of the planes engines.

Passenger Lee Bee Yee, 43, said that she could smell gasoline about two hours into the flight.

"The pilot said he was going to turn back because the engine is leaking oil on the right side," she told Channel News Asia. "The captain said that they cannot turn on that side of the engine or else the plane will be vibrating. And they can't fly like this to Milan. That's why they turned back," she added. "We were sleeping and didn't think too much about it."

After the plane landed back in Singapore the passengers cheered and clapped. Then there was a spark and "huge flames" from the right side of the plane, said Lee. She said it took an "agonising" five minutes for emergency crews to arrive and another 10 for firefighters to extinguish the flames.

"I stood up, ready to run," she said. "But the announcement said to stay calm and to stay in your seats. Passengers were frightened," she claimed, stating that there was "no shouting and everyone was seated."

Another passenger said the right wing "exploded." Passengers on board the plane were reportedly given the option of choosing whether to leave on another flight to Milan, or defer their trip.

An investigation into the incident is continuing.

Singapore airlines
A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, its starboard wing charred from an engine fire while making an emergency landing, is towed across the tarmac at Changi International airport, Singapore Roslan Rahman/ AFP, Lee Bee Yee/ Facebook