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Pilot asks passengers to pray after mid-flight emergency

Posted at 7:39 AM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 07:39:35-04

AUSTRALIA (Seven Network/CNN) – Turbulence shook terrified passengers for almost two hours after a flight traveling from Australia to Malaysia suffered an apparent engine issue.

An AirAsia flight from Perth, Australia, was forced to turn back Sunday after the Airbus aircraft began shaking about an hour into the flight due to what the airline called a technical fault.

Passengers say the shaking, which continued for 1.5 hours as the plane returned to Perth, felt like a washing machine. It coincided with a loud bang, and the pilot announced there was a technical problem.

Many of the 359 people on board the flight say they were afraid they wouldn’t make it back to the airport.

“This plane was really, really limping home. It was shuddering, shuddering, shuddering. We all thought we were going to go down,” passenger Malik Mascarenhas said.

Some saw metal flying out of the engine. Others texted their families, fearing they wouldn’t see them again.

“There were lots of people crying, lots of people pulling out the life jackets and stuff, pretty much preparing. We thought there was a good chance we were going to go down,” a passenger named Tim said.

The pilot announced to the passengers over the intercom that he was scared and asked them to pray for a safe landing.

“Please pay attention, and also please, uh, listen to everything. Our survival depends on you co-operating,” said the pilot during the flight.

Because the flight emergency started over the Indian Ocean, marine emergency services were put on standby.

Despite the bumpy ride, the plane landed safely, about three hours after it initially left the airport.

One passenger said everyone broke into applause, and the pilot shook everyone’s hand on the way out.

The passengers were offered $20 vouchers and had to queue for hours to try and catch another flight.

Some passengers say they were too scared to get on another plane.

“I was just very nervous. I thought the whole plane was just going to go plummeting down,” one young passenger said.

AirAsia says the flight crew will be checking over the aircraft. Rolls-Royce, the manufacturer of the plane’s engine, says they are investigating the cause of the issue.

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