Passengers feared for their lives when told to brace for impact after hearing "a loud disturbing noise" off the coast of Western Australia.
Passengers thought they were going to die when a Malaysia Airlines flight was forced to turn around and make an emergency landing in Alice Springs after reported engine failure at 5.46pm local time.
Those aboard Flight MH122 travelling from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, heard loud banging sounds, felt violent shaking, were kept in the dark for 15 minutes, and then told to brace for impact.
“The fight attendant came on and said the pilot will give a 30-second warning before impact,” Donna Edwards told Channel 9.
“One of the crew stopped near us and one guy said ‘are we crashing or are we landing?’ The crew member said ‘I don’t know’. We were just bracing for the worst. I thought I was going to die.”
We were just bracing for the worst. I thought I was going to die.
Chin Kanani told the ABC his wife became alarmed when she started hearing unusual sounds.
“She said she was on the loo when she started hearing loud banging noises from the right-hand side of the plane and that’s when all it started,” Mr Kanani said.
“It was like hell this flight and they were told to be ready for an emergency landing.”
Another passenger Mohamad Nogheib, said the “engine started making a weird sound”, before they turned around off the coast of Western Australia.
“I was scared for my life, I’m not going to lie,” he added. While another passenger recalled “very violent shaking”.
In a tweet, Sanjeev Pandey said the staff were far from reassuring.
“The scariest part was that once the engine started to make a loud disturbing noise, the flight attendants all seemed nervous n clueless. For around 15 mins, there was no announcement,” he wrote.
#malaysian airlines #mh122. Emergency landing at Alice Springs. The scariest part was that once the engine started to make a loud disturbing noise, the flight attendants all seemed nervous n clueless. For around 15 mins, there was no announcement.15 mins were as long as 15 hours!
— Sanjeev Pandey (@sppandey81) January 18, 2018
Malaysia Airlines said the flight was diverted due to technical reasons.
“Safety was not at any time compromised and the commanding captain decided to divert the flight for technical assistance,” it said in a statement.
“Malaysia Airlines is also working very hard to reallocate passengers with onward connections on to the next available flights to their destination.
“Safety at all times is Malaysia Airlines’ number one priority.”
Another black mark against Malaysia Airlines
Yesterday’s air scare coincides with the resumption of the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished without a trace in 2014.
US-based exploration firm Ocean Infinity will comb 25,000 square kilometres of seabed in the Southern Indian Ocean, a zone identified by the previous three-year search as the likely resting place of the doomed plane.
Since the disappearance, and MH17 being shot down over Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines has lost millions of potential customers and three CEOs. The most recent, Peter Bellew, resigned in October after less than 18 months in charge, after previously saying, the turnaround of Malaysia Airlines would be “the greatest achievement of my life”.
The airline’s owner, the state investment fund Khazanah, has said it plans to re-list the airline’s shares on the stock exchange in 2019. However the management turnover, and yesterday’s forced emergency landing, all contribute to making the turnaround that much more difficult.