Passengers of AirAsia flight got the fright of their lives when the aircraft, which was headed to Malaysia from Perth, was forced to turn back after it began shaking violently due to “technical issue.”
Less than two hours into the trip, flight D7237 with 359 passengers onboard began shuddering after a loud bang. Passengers described the incident as being like a “washing machine” with rapid shaking and rattling.
“We were asleep and heard a loud bang around the one-hour and 15-minute mark. It shook for the whole ride back, close on two hours,” said passenger Damien Stevens.
The trembling is said to have been so violent that the pilot called on passengers to pray. Passengers were also reportedly asked to keep an eye on the engine outside their windows.
“The plane was really really limping home, it was shuddering, shuddering, shuddering. We all thought, you know, we're just going to go down,” said passenger Malik Mascarenhas.
Passenger Sophie Nicolas said she could tell the situation was “really bad” judging by the cabin crew's reaction.
“He said, 'I hope you all say a prayer, I will be saying a prayer too and let's hope we all get back home safely,’” she said.
Twenty-four-year-old passenger Brenton Atkinson said, “It was essentially the engine seized up I think, that's what they told us anyway. The whole thing, the plane started vibrating and shaking pretty bad, and we had to turn around and come back. It was literally like you were sitting on top of a washing machine.”
Another passenger, Damos Stevens, recalled the terrifying moment.
“It was really shaky, very scary,” he said.
He further said that the passengers were asked to hold the “brace position” during the landing. Fortunately, it was smooth. He also praised the pilot for handling the situation.
Although Stevens thought the communication on the plane was pretty good, he complained about the airline’s ability to communicate when they disembarked the plane.
“[There has been] no support for passengers, there is still a long line of people here, no word on replacement flights,” he said.
Passenger Rasool Zareie also complained that he was given a $20 voucher at the airport and two nights' accommodation, but was left in the dark about when he and his family could fly.
“We were standing in queues for three and a half hours. When I asked them, 'What should we do?' they had nothing to say. That was very annoying,” he said.
AirAsia confirmed the incident in a statement.
“The safety of our guests is our utmost priority," the airline said in a statement.
The exact cause of the imbalance still remains unclear.
Why did AirAsia#D7237 head all the way back to Perth if there was an emergency? Plenty of WA mining towns and Air Force bases with runways?— Stephen (@TheAviator1992) June 25, 2017
Airasia flight from Perth bound to KL was terrifying. Thank God it landed safely.— Darren Mah (@Darrenzxczxc) June 25, 2017