Bali-bound AirAsia passengers describe horror of flight ‘plunging’ 20,000ft

(File) A passenger said the panic was escalated because of the behaviour of staff who were screaming and looked tearful. Source: Shutterstock

THE passengers on board an AirAsia flight bound for Bali have described their harrowing experience of their plane dropping some 20,000ft shortly after taking off from Perth, Australia on Sunday morning.

With 145 people on board, the plane was forced to turn back less than an hour into the flight after it dropped two-thirds of its altitude, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The would-be holidaymakers on AirAsia Flight QZ535 said they became terrified after they were ordered to adopt the brace position and use their oxygen masks.

Some of the passengers thought they would die during the ordeal, with some of them texting their family members to say their goodbyes.

“The panic was escalated, because of the behavior of staff, who was screaming and looked tearful,” Passenger Clare Askew told Seven News.

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The sudden plunge was reportedly due to a technical problem which caused the aircraft to descend from 32,000 feet to 10,000 feet without warning.

Another passenger said the people on board the flight thought they would die.

“I actually picked up my phone and sent a text message to my family, just hoping that they would get it,” a passenger who goes by the name Leah said.

“We were all pretty much saying goodbye to each other. It was really upsetting. The masks fell down and everybody started panicking. Nobody told us what was going on.”

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The flight landed safely after turning back to Perth Airport. In a statement, AirAsia said the cause of the incident was being investigated.

“The safety of our guests is our utmost priority,” the statement said. “AirAsia Indonesia apologizes for any inconvenience caused.”