Sunday, 25 June 2017

Passengers prey for survival on Air Asia X flight

AIR ASIA X A330-343 9M-XXE (CN 1075)             File Photo

The pilot of a stricken AirAsia X plane told passengers to “say a prayer” after an apparent engine issue that forced the A330 to return to Perth this morning.
Air Asia has issued a statement saying: “We are investigating the technical issue — there is no indication its an engine issue.”

Passengers on flight D7-237 en route from Perth Airport (PER/YPPH) to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL/WMKK)  have told how they heard a bang and looked out the window to see the left engine vibrating violently under the wing.
The aircraft started shuddering and a strong engine smell wafted through the cabin for a couple of minutes before the pilot made a U-turn to head back to Perth Airport.
With terrified passengers in the “brace position”, the aircraft landed safely just before 10am, three hours after it had initially departed.
Sophie Nicolas, one of the 359 passengers on board the flight, said she heard a small explosion from the left wing.
“I couldn’t see anything ... the plane just started shuddering a lot,” she said.
“You could tell by the cabin crew’s reaction that it was really bad.”
She said the Captain asked everyone to remain seated and announced the plane would return to Perth.
“He said ‘I hope you all say a prayer, I’ll be saying a prayer too and let’s hope we all get back home safely’,” she said.
“It was terrifying.
“I was crying a lot ... a lot of people were crying, trying to call their mums and stuff.
“But we couldn’t really do anything, just wait and trust the Captain and he delivered us home safely, which is amazing.”

The aircraft, an Airbus A330-300, with 359 passengers on board took off from Perth's runway 21 at 07:10 hours local time and climbed to FL380. At 08:13 the flight commenced a climb to a higher altitude. Reaching FL390, 830 km NNE of Perth, the flight crew initiated a descending right hand turn back towards Perth. A safe landing was made again on runway 21 at 09:57

The budget airline has already been under increased scrutiny from the air safety regulator over previous incidents and is facing another investigation after a turbine blade in the A330’s left engine allegedly sheared off less than two hours into a flight.

Aircraft Information

Aircraft: Airbus A330-343
Operator: Air Asia X
Registration: 9M-XXE
Serial Number: 1075
Engines: RR Trent 772B-60
First Flew: 10th November 2009
Age: 7 yrs 6 months
Test Registration: F-WWKS

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