AirAsia Flight From Perth To Bali Plunges 20,000 Feet Mid-Air
On Sunday, 15 October, an AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali was forced to turn back after the plane lost cabin pressure and plunged 20,000 feet, about 25 minutes after take-off
According to a report by New Straits Times, AirAsia flight QZ535 plummeted two-thirds of its altitude in a matter of seconds - from 32,000 feet to 10,000 feet - while still over Western Australia due to "technical difficulties". The incident caused massive shock and panic in the aircraft.
Media reports on the incident said that oxygen masks dropped and passengers were told to adopt the "brace" position as the plane dropped altitude.
Despite that, the Airbus 320, carrying 151 people, landed safely at Perth International Airport at 12.40pm, where the passengers boarded another Bali-bound plane provided by AirAsia. There have been no reports of injury either.
AirAsia released an official statement on the incident soon after, apologising for the terrifying mid-air emergency and stressing that the safety of its passengers are of utmost importance to them
"AirAsia Indonesia apologises for any inconvenience caused.
"Our engineers are assessing the aircraft. All affected passengers (were) scheduled to the next available flight and provided with necessary assistance including meal vouchers," said the statement, as reported by BBC.
Meanwhile, Australian media is rife with comments from the passengers on board flight QZ535, who were mostly shocked and traumatised by the untoward incident
One of the 145 passengers, Claire Askew, told Australia's Seven News that the situation may have been made worse by the panic among the cabin crew.
"The panic was escalated, because of the behaviour of staff, who were screaming and looked tearful.
"Now, I get it... but we looked to them for reassurance and we didn't get any, we were more worried because of how panicked they were," Askew said, adding that everyone was terrified.
Australian passengers feared the worst when they couldn't understand the announcements that weren't in English
The West Australian quoted Merv Loy, one of the passengers on board, who said that the only announcements that they received in English were to put their seatbelts on and "Brace".
"We didn't understand a word they were saying. It was pretty scary," he said.
"It (the advice) was all in Asian or Thai or something. We couldn't understand anything that was coming over the loudspeaker," added Glenyce Regan, another passenger, who said that she felt the lost of pressure from breathing as she had just recently went through a heart operation.
"I thought we were gone. I really, really thought we were gone. My life flashed in front of me," she told The West Australian.
"We were all pretty much saying goodbye to each other. It was really upsetting," a passenger from Perth, Leah, told 9NEWS.