Jet engine blades do become detached from time to time, and the casing of the engine is designed to contain the debris. But when you are 10,000 metres above ground level I think most of us would prefer it if the people maintaining our aircraft try to prevent this sort of problem.
Are the same standards adopted world-wide? Apparently not. I gather that this report was going around 'the industry' a couple of years ago, but a friend recently sent me this scare story which might be worth remembering if you happen to be flying on a Chinese plane.
A pilot for a Chinese carrier requested permission and landed at Frankfurt, Germany, for an unscheduled refuelling stop. The reason became soon apparent to the ground crew: The Number 3 engine had been shutdown previously because of excessive vibration, and because it didn't look too good. It had apparently been no problem for the tough guys on the ground back in China: as they took some sturdy straps and wrapped them around two of the fan blades and the structures behind, thus stopping any unwanted wind-milling (engine spinning by itself due to airflow passing thru the blades during flight) and associated uncomfortable vibration caused by the sub optimal fan.
|Chinese jet engine - safely strapped together!|
|Chinese jet engine - damaged blades|
That's not to say that everything in China is subject to the same standard of Quality Assurance. But even if the engine was not in use when it landed in Frankfurt you do have to wonder how it had been allowed to reach this state.
Given that China is officially an atheist country you can't even say that they were trusting in god!