Passengers on board an AirAsia flight that was forced to return to Australia were told by the captain to "say a prayer" after a problem reportedly with an engine made the plane shudder like a "washing machine".
The Kuala Lumpur-bound flight turned back to Perth one and a half hours into the journey due to a "technical issue" and the Airbus 330 landed about three hours after departure. 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 wrote, "I thought I might die."
“Flight crew are taking precautionary measures to check the aircraft and some guests on board the flight will be transferred to the next available flight today,” AirAsia said in a statement on Sunday. “Other guests will be informed of the progress of the flight.”
"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," Ms Nicolas told ABC, adding: "Everybody burst into applause when we landed."
Police said marine emergency services north of Perth were put on standby to prepare for a possible water landing, the news network reports.
AirAsia X did not give details about the technical issue behind the incident. In a statement, it said the safety of passengers was "our utmost priority". Earlier this month an Airbus A330 belonging to China Eastern Airlines was forced to make an emergency landing in Sydney after a huge hole appeared in one of its engine casings.