Passengers stressed by midair ordeal

Jessica Cuthbert, Gabrielle Knowles and Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

An Albany man says he has no fear of flying again after his Air Asia flight was forced to return to Perth to land after an engine failure on Sunday.

Brenton Atkinson was on the Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday morning when it was forced to return to Perth after a technical issue in the aircraft’s engine.

A spokesman for Perth Airport said the AirAsia flight, with 359 passengers aboard, left Perth just before 7am on Sunday.

The pilot identified a technical issue with the A330 Airbus on flight D7237 more than an hour into the journey and turned back to Perth, landing safely at 10am.

It is understood there was a single engine failure, causing the aircraft to shudder.

Mr Atkinson who was flying to Istanbul with friend Damien Boccamazzo, said the ordeal was stressful.

“Everyone kept pretty quiet, I think me and Damo were talking more than anyone else just trying to distract ourselves with stupid jokes,” he said.

“A lot of people were crying or covering their eyes.”

The Albany man said the flight became more intense once the pilot made the announcement to passengers there was a problem with the flight.

“The pilot said the number one engine seized up, he asked everyone to pray for our safety and said that he was doing the same,” Mr Atkinson said.

“Later he said that everyone should study the safety booklet and that our survival could depend on it. It was pretty stressful but we convinced ourselves that it’d be OK and kept talking between ourselves and making light of it all.”

Mr Atkinson said the crew throughout the ordeal were great.

“They (crew) were obviously stressed but kept doing their jobs and were trying to help the passengers the whole time,” he said.

“I cannot praise the pilot enough; he was an absolute top bloke and shook every single passenger’s hand at the end of the flight and he also said that in his 44 years as a pilot, it was the worst thing he’d ever experienced.”

Both men received a full refund from Air Asia, but bought anoth-er flight to make it to Istanbul on time.

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