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I recently flew from the USA to Lisbon, Portugal. It looked like we were nowhere near an airport if there was an emergency. What would happen if both engines failed, has that ever happened?
– Ronacar, Houston
You were over the ocean for much of the flight but there were diversion airports within two hours if necessary. Iceland and the Azores are frequently used as diversion alternates.
Having both engines fail is extraordinarily rare. I only am aware of one such instance. In August of 2001, Air Transat 236, an Airbus A330, had a massive fuel leak. There were problems determining what was happening, resulting in all the fuel in the airplane being burned or escaping through a hole in a high-pressure fuel line. As a result, both engines failed due to a lack of fuel. The airplane landed in the Azores.
Modern airliners are designed with multiple backups so that a failure of a system or engine can be handled, resulting in a safe landing.
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