AirAsia Crew 'Screamed,' Caused Panic As Plane Dropped 20,000 Feet

A rapid descent of more than 20,000 feet was made all-the-worse by a panicking flight crew that allegedly screamed during the drop in altitude.

row of AirAsia planes at airport

As crew told passengers to brace for impact, and oxygen masks dropped down upon them, passengers of AirAsia Flight QZ535 naturally panicked as the plane descended more than 24,000 feet in a matter of minutes.

But some passengers are accusing the flight crew of causing an unnecessary amount of hysteria during the ordeal that took place on Sunday.

The flight was on its way from Perth, Australia, to Bali, Indonesia. A half hour after departure, a “technical issue,” according to the airline, required a rapid descent. Such drops in altitudes are typical for airplanes in events where depressurization is necessary, and the procedure allows all members on board to breathe without the assistance of an oxygen mask.

Although the plane landed safely shortly after the rapid descent, passengers are accusing the attendants on the flight of causing an unnecessary panic.

Flight crew are supposed to keep calm during such glitches, having received an immense amount of training for several different scenarios. But passengers aboard the AirAsia flight on Sunday have described a flight crew that reacted poorly, causing an even greater amount of panic among the rest of the plane.

The flight crew “started screaming: ‘Emergency, emergency,” said passenger Clare Askew. Another described a situation in which the crew “were screaming, looked tearful and shocked.”

“[W]e looked to them for reassurance and we didn’t get any,” Askew added. “We were more worried because of how panicked they were.”

Australia's 7 News Perth tweeted a video describing just how rapid the descent really was. The drop was from 30,000 feet to an altitude of 10,000 feet — or about the height of 20 Eiffel Towers — in just under eight minutes, explained reporter Emily Baker.

This is not the first instance in which an AirAsia flight has been criticized. Back in June, another flight had to turn around after the plane became shaky for an unknown reason. The pilot came over the intercom and twice told passengers to “pray” for their safe landing.

When flying over great distances, we expect plane crews to keep us safe and calm for the duration of our travels. In at least two documented instances, AirAsia has failed its passengers in that task.

Hopefully the corporation will get the message and train its flight crews to react more appropriately — or better yet, check these planes a few times over, and do the necessary repairs to each craft, before they’re allowed to fly again.

Banner and thumb image credit: Charles Platiau/Reuters

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