Passengers report the plane’s right engine appeared to “explode”
The AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Brisbane, Australia was forced to turn around and make an emergency landing at Brisbane airport following a mid-air emergency on Monday evening.
Flight D7207 left as scheduled when loud banging noises were heard and passengers saw sparks flying from the plane’s right engine.
AirAsia stated the cause of the incident may have been a bird strike, which was later confirmed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority when they discovered the corpses of plovers at the Brisbane Gold Coast Airport.
Spokesman Peter Gibson said, “There was evidence on the runway of a bird strike”.
The flight landed back at Brisbane Airport at 11:33 P.M, one hour after take-off, with no injuries reported among the 345 passengers and 14 crew.
Chief Executive of AirAsia, Benyamin Ismail, made a statement praising the pilot and crew for a safe landing: “We are following all regulatory guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests. We would like to comment our pilot and crew members for their professionalism and swift action to reassure passengers and to land the aircraft safely.”
Another AirAsia plane was forced to make an emergency landing earlier last week after the engine malfunctioned, coincidentally also on a flight from Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur.
Replacement flight expected to depart Tuesday evening, passengers taken care of by hotel
Passengers were taken to hotels and AirAsia arranged a replacement flight departing Tuesday evening.
Passengers took to social media to describe their experiences of the incident.
“Successive sparks boom boom boom went off and some people were crying and calling out ‘oh my God oh my God,” passenger Eric Lim wrote on his Facebook page.
Another passenger tweeted: “That was quite an experience seeing the engine on fire.”