A passenger has captured the nightmarish moment a wheel fell off a plane just seconds after takeoff.

Footage taken by the person from their window seat shows sparks flying as the spinning wheel breaks off its axis and falls to the ground.

A startled onlooker can be heard shouting “elle est tombée” (“it’s fallen off”) as the smoking tyre rolls off along the runway.

The footage was captured on Friday on board an Air Canada Express flight, operated by Jazz Aviation, bound for Saguenay-Bagotville airport in western Quebec.

“Cool so I’m currently in a plane that just lost a wheel… Great start to 2020 then,” wrote Tom, the passenger who posted the video on Twitter.

Three crew and 49 passengers set off on the plane from Montreal, but the pilots were forced to turn back following the wheel detachment, Jazz Aviation confirmed.

The aircraft had to circle for two hours to burn fuel to lighten the load on the remaining wheels which were at risk of bursting on landing.

“Our pilots are well trained to deal with such situations and responded according to our standard operating procedures,” the airline said in a statement shared with CBC News.

Emergency vehicles stood by but the aircraft landed without incident. The passengers then reached their destination on another aircraft.

Mechanics are working to determine the cause of the wheel failure, Jazz Aviation said. 

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