PASSENGERS on board an AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali feared for the lives after the aircraft plunged 20,000 feet in a midair emergency.
Flight QZ535 was forced to turn back to Perth Airport on Sunday morning, just 25 minutes into its flight, after a technical issue caused the cabin to lose pressure.
Oxygen masks dropped from above the seats and passengers were told to get into a brace position as the plane plunged from 32,000 feet to 10,000 feet.
Clare Askew, among the 145 passengers on board, said the reaction of the airline’s crew made the ordeal more terrifying.
“The panic was escalated because of the behaviour of staff who were screaming, looked tearful and shocked,” she told Perth Now.
“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.”
A passenger named Leah told Nine News: “I actually picked up my phone and sent a text message to my family, just hoping that they would get it. We were all pretty much saying goodbye to each other. It was really upsetting.”
The Perth woman said cabin crew were panicking, but left passengers in the dark.
“One of the stewardesses started running down the aisle and we thought, ‘why is she running?’ And then the masks fell down and everybody started panicking. Nobody told us what was going on,” she said.
Tracy, who was travelling with son Jayden, said: “My son said he didn’t want to get on another flight but I’ve assured him it can’t happen twice in a row. It’s really put me off flying. I fly every year on AirAsia.”
The plane landed safely in Perth, with passengers rescheduled for later journeys.
AirAsia said its engineers at Perth Airport were investigating the aircraft.
“The safety of our guests is our utmost priority,” the airline said in a statement. “AirAsia Indonesia apologises for any inconvenience caused.”
In June, passengers spoke of how an AirAsia flight captain told them to start prayingafter the aircraft started “shaking like a washing machine”.
The Airbus A330 was flying from Perth to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when it was also forced to turn back because of difficulties.