An AirAsia X flight bound for Kuala Lumpur was forced to turn back on Sunday, after a mid-air technical issue left the plane’s cabin shaking like a “washing machine.”
Flight D7237 with 359 passengers onboard left Perth at 6:50 a.m. local time, then returned to Perth by 10 a.m., after what reportedly seemed to be a problem with an engine.
“I heard a loud explosion I think on the left-side engine,” passenger Tzeyau Chung told ABC News.
“After the explosion it started to shake, it started to bounce, but overall the captain did a very good job. Of course we were a bit worried but at the end of the day … we safely landed. I think that is the most important thing.”
Videos taken by passengers show how violently the plane shook on its return. “I thought I might die,” Instagram user @maesaya wrote. “Anyway I still arrive!!! Thank you God!!!”
The situation wasn’t just a bit of turbulence, with the incident reportedly leaving both cabin crew and passengers worried.
“I could just tell by the cabin crew’s reaction that it was really bad,” passenger Sophie Nicolas told the news outlet.
“[Crew] said ‘I hope you all say a prayer, I’ll be saying a prayer too, and let’s hope that we all get back home safely.’ 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.”
In one video, the flight’s captain can be heard asking passengers to “please listen to everything,” as their survival depends on it.
AirAsia Berhad said in a statement via email that passengers were “attended to by our ground staff upon landing and were provided with all necessary assistance.” It did not reveal the cause of the issue.
“Our engineers are taking the precautionary steps to check the aircraft. Guests on board the flight were transferred to the next available flight or to the recovery flight D7 689, which safely departed Perth at 23:40hrs of the same day. The safety of our guests is our utmost priority,” the statement read.
On Monday morning, an AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur was delayed out of Perth by more than three hours as some passengers reported changing their travel plans to avoid the airline. Others were optimistic it wouldn’t happen again.