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Screams and terror as AirAsia flight dives

October 17, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Cabin crew screamed and a flight attendant yelled “passengers, get down” as an Indonesia AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali on Sunday suddenly plunged 20,000 feet.

Oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and the aircraft, an Airbus A320 operating flight QZ535, is reported to have lost cabin air pressure before rapidly descending and returning to Perth Airport, where it landed safely.

Passengers interviewed by Seven News criticised flight crew for allegedly screaming and looking “tearful and shocked” rather than calming the situation.

They described apparent fear and confusion aboard.

“We look to them for reassurance and we didn’t get any. We were more worried because of how panicked they were,” one woman said.

Another passenger said: “They [cabin crew] went hysterical. There was no real panic before that. Then everyone panicked.”

Data from flight tracking sites indicates the plane, carrying 145 passengers, plummeted from above 34,000 feet to 10,000 feet in about nine minutes.

Aviation analysts say it’s standard practice for pilots to descend to that altitude in the event of cabin depressurisation.

“We commend our pilots for landing the aircraft safely and complying with standard operating procedure,” Captain Ling Liong Tien, AirAsia Group’s head of safety, said in a statement.

“We are fully committed to the safety of our guests and crew and we will continue to ensure that we adhere to the highest safety standards.”

The aircraft was being examined on Sunday and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating.

In June, an an AirAsia X pilot on a flight from Malaysia to Perth urged passengers to pray as the plane began shaking “like a washing machine” after an engine apparently shed a turbine blade and seized.

In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore plummeted into the Java Sea, killing all 162 passengers and crew.

Written by Peter Needham

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