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Captain says ‘pray’ as stricken flight limps back to Perth

June 26, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

The captain of an international flight from Perth reportedly told passengers yesterday to “say a prayer” as the plane began shaking “like a washing machine” after an engine apparently shed a turbine blade and seized.

AirAsia X flight D7237, operated with an A330, was forced to turn back mid-flight to Perth, reports said.

This passenger video gives a feeling of the constant shaking:


The plane landed safely and passengers were transferred to other flights, though many missed connections and some decided to fly on other carriers. According to reports this morning, some passengers complained about a lack of support from AirAsia.

The plane took off for Kuala Lumpur before striking a sudden severe technical issue about 90 minutes into the flight. The captain turned back and the plane landed about 10am, three hours after take-off, with emergency services standing by.

Water Police told WA Today that marine emergency services north of Perth were standing ready for a possible water landing.

The same outlet quoted passenger Sophie Nicolas telling reporters she knew by the cabin crew’s reaction the situation was “really bad”.

“He [the flight captain] said ‘I hope you all say a prayer; I will be saying a prayer too and let’s hope we all get back home safely’”.

Passengers said the drama began with a loud explosion, apparently from the left-hand engine, after which the plane began to bounce and shake.

A passenger told ABC News the aircraft started “shaking like a washing machine”. Two other passengers filmed the plane shuddering mid-flight.

Some passengers were distressed and crying, reports said. Other passengers praised the professionalism of the crew and the captain’s skill in getting everyone back safely. Passengers burst into applause after the flight landed.

A passenger told ABC News those aboard were told the engine had seized up, and “once we landed we realised one of the blades had actually come off the turbine”. Despite that comment, the type of damage or what caused it has yet to be officially established.

The Aviation Herald reported that the left-hand engine (a Rolls-Royce Trent 772) “suffered a blade fracture, ingested the blade resulting in severe damage in engine core and severe vibrations”. The crew shut the engine down, drifted the aircraft down to a lower altitude and returned to Perth for a safe landing about two hours after the engine failure, the authoritative publication reported.

In 2015, an AirAsia A320 crashed on a flight from Surabaya to Singapore. A report on that crash disclosed that the plane had a fault with its rudder limiter which continued unfixed for a year before the aircraft went down. The report found the defect did not by itself cause the crash, but the flight crew’s reaction to a warning alarm about the fault contributed.

The investigation found that the same AirAsia A320 had made 78 round-trips between Perth and Bali with the fault unfixed, in the lead-up to the fatal crash into the Java Sea while the plane was operating another sector.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. brent says:

    Well this pilot may have been able to fly, but they failed the;
    Common Sense Rule
    Attributes of a leader in a crisis
    Basic psychology.

    He/she should be relieved of duties

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