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Bird strike! AirAsia X flight turns back to Brisbane

July 5, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

An AirAsia X flight to Malaysia from the Gold Coast has apparently slammed into two birds on take-off, producing loud bangs and sparks that made some passengers think the plane’s right engine had exploded, and forcing the pilot to turn the plane round and head to Brisbane.

“Successive sparks boom boom boom went off and some people were crying and calling out ‘oh my God oh my God’,” Eric Lim, a passenger aboard flight D7207 from Coolangatta posted on Facebook.

The flight, an A330-300 carrying 345 passengers and 14 crew, took off for Kuala Lumpur on Monday night when the big bangs shook the aircraft.

The Guardian quoted a passenger who said he saw the engine on fire.

AirAsia X said a suspected bird strike caused the emergency. The plane landed safely.

AirAsia X A330-300

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) confirmed carcasses of plovers, fairly large birds, had been found at Gold Coast airport, where the plane took off at about 10.20pm. The Aviation Herald reported two dead birds were recovered from the departure runway.

AirAsia X chief executive, Benyamin Ismail, said the airline was “following all regulatory guidelines to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our guests.

“We would like to commend our pilot and crew members for their professionalism and swift action to reassure passengers… and to land the aircraft safely,” Ismail said in an issued statement.

Passengers were taken to hotels and a replacement flight left yesterday evening.

Plover

It’s the latest of several unusual incidents to affect planes taking off from Australia recently. Early last week, another AirAsia X plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Perth airport after an engine went violently haywire 90 minutes into a flight to Kuala Lumpur, shedding a blade and making passengers feel like they were in a washing machine. See: Captain says ‘pray’ as stricken flight limps back to Perth

A week earlier, something ripped a huge hole in the engine cowling of a China Eastern Airbus A300-200, forcing it to turn back to Sydney shortly after taking off on an international flight. See: Plane turns back to Sydney with giant hole in engine

Written by Peter Needham

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