June 25 (UPI) — An AirAsia X flight headed to Malaysia returned to an airport in Australia on Sunday after it was shaking like a “washing machine” because of engine troubles.
After flying for 90 minutes, the pilot said he returned to Perth — instead of continuing to Kuala Lumpur — because of “technical problems” with the plane.
“It was literally like you were sitting on top of a washing machine,” Brenton Atkinson, 24, said to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “The whole thing was going. We could see the engine out the window which was really shaken on the wing.”
Passenger Damien Stevens told CNN he heard a loud bang and the plane then shook for the remaining two hours of the flight.
“It was really shaky, very scary,” said Stevens, who was flying to Myanmar for a vacation with his friend Mitch Jamieson.
He said the pilot asked passengers to pray twice. Passengers also were told by the pilot to hold “the brace position” for about two minutes during the landing, he said, which was smooth.
Passenger Sophie Nicolas told ABC, “I could tell by the cabin crew’s reaction that it was really bad.”
“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. Everybody burst into applause when we landed,” Nicolas said.
Police said marine emergency services were put on standby to prepare for a possible water landing, ABC reported.
Some passengers posted videos on social media.
“I thought I might die,” wrote @maesaya on Instagram, along with a video clip showing the plane’s seats rattling.
Passenger Damos Stevens, who filmed some of the juddering flight, told CNN the pilot did a great job, but AirAsia’s communication with passengers on the ground had been poor.
AirAsia X did not describe the technical issue, but said the safety of passengers is “our utmost priority.”
Earlier this month, a China Eastern Airline Airbus A330 was forced to make an emergency landing in Sydney after a huge hole appeared in one of its engine casings.
In December 2014, an AirAsia plane’s rudder control system malfunctioned during the flight. It crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 162 people on board.
AirAsia, established in 1993, is a budget airline based in Malaysia that flies to 165 destinations in Asia.