Passengers onboard a Malaysia Airlines flight were recently given a fright when they were instructed to brace for impact on their shaky aircraft.
The flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Alice Springs, after the plane began violently shaking, caused by an apparent engine shutdown, per ABC reports.
Flight MH122 was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Sydney, with some 224 passengers on board, when it experienced “technical difficulties” as they flew over Broome yesterday evening.
The pilots shut down one of the Airbus A330-300’s engines, and made the decision to divert the flight to Alice Springs.
Speaking to the ABC, one passenger, Hugh Wolton, said the shaking didn’t feel “like normal turbulence”, but rather “violent shaking” that lasted about five minutes.
“It wasn’t like normal turbulence, it was very violent shaking of the plane which caused quite a stir,” he told the ABC.
“We got a call from the captain on the deck describing how to make plans for emergency planning, the wording used was things like impact so we started bracing ourselves for a rough landing.
“And given that we were in a pretty remote territory, we weren’t nearby any airports, it was a pretty scary moment.”
Another passenger, Peter Brooks, revealed to the ABC how the whole cabin applauded when the plane landed in Alice.
“Some thought he was going to come down into the desert, and then in three-quarters of an hour he came back on he said we were going to land in Alice Springs,” Brooks told the ABC.
“And we did cheer, we did cheer,” he added.
“[We were told] it was an emergency landing, it was going to be a heavy impact and then it went ‘we’ll have a normal landing, we’re ok’,” he said. “We’re safe, were safe.”
There was plenty of praise for how the pilots handled the situation, as well as mostly good-spirited passengers who were just relieved it didn’t turn out worse.
“[We were nervous] after hearing so many stories about what’s happening in the air travel at the moment and at the same time what’s happened to Malaysian Airlines not so long ago,” passenger Naveen Henri admitted to the ABC.
“I think it was a bit of a shock to the system, but I think all kudos to the staff and crew who did manage to support the passengers and handle the situation well.”
Malaysia Airlines said that safety is its priority at all times, per ABC, with a replacement plane set to arrive for the passengers in Alice Springs today.
“We’re aware that the aircraft here at the moment will need further maintenance so we suspect that that will stay on the ground,” Alice Springs Airport General Manager, Dave Batic, told ABC Darwin.
“Another aircraft should arrive today and continue the journey for the passengers.”
“Alice Springs is an international diversion airfield so were quite prepared for the arrival of the aircraft.
“We managed to process well over 220 passengers within a few hours, find them over 170 hotel rooms, organise transport, manage all their baggage in a very short space of time – so it was all hands on deck.”