‘I Thought I Might Die.’ AirAsia X Flight Turns Around After Technical Issue Caused Shaking

Jun 25, 2017

A Malaysia-bound plane taking off from Perth, Australia, turned back mid-flight Sunday after the aircraft began shaking due to a "technical issue."

The pilot of the AirAsia X aircraft, which was headed toward Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, turned around after the pilot identified an issue with the engine as the plane shook, a Perth Airport spokesperson told CNN. There were 359 passengers on board the aircraft, which took off before 7 a.m. on Sunday. It landed at Perth Airport just before 10 a.m., AirAsia X Berhad said in a statement to Fortune.

No passengers or crew members were injured as a result of the incident, AirAsia X said.

The plane shook heavily for two hours during the return to Perth, one passenger told CNN. "It was really shaky, very scary," the passenger, Damien Stevens, said, according to CNN.

One person posted a video of the plane shaking on Instagram, where the user @maesaya wrote, "I thought I might die."

Stevens told CNN that the pilot of the aircraft advised passengers to pray twice and told them to hold "the brace position" for two minutes before landing. Once the plane landed safely, the passengers applauded the pilot, who shook hands with each of them, Stevens told CNN. A representative for AirAsia X did not confirm these details.

The passengers on the plane were transferred to another flight, which took off "safely" at 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, AirAsia X Berhad said.

"The safety of our guests is our utmost priority," AirAsia X Berhad said.

It is unclear what caused the technical issue, but AirAsia X said its engineers " are taking the precautionary steps to check the aircraft." The Airbus A330-300 aircraft uses a Rolls-Royce engine. Earlier this month, a Shanghai-bound, China Eastern Airlines plane, which also uses a Rolls-Royce Trent 700 Engine, was forced to turn back to Sydney after part of the engine's nacelle casing came off, according to CNN.

A representative from Perth Airport did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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