Birdstrike causes AirAsia flight midair emergency

Another passenger, Tim Joga, told The Sydney Morning Herald the plane started to vibrate minutes after take-off.

JEDDAH: A jet liner carrying 359 people was forced to make an emergency landing after a suspected bird strike left passengers shaken.

Many passengers would have seen the flames, Mr Jago said, describing the mood among passengers as "tense but calm".

The flight with 345 passengers and 14 crew was diverted to Brisbane and landed safely at 11:33pm.

The engine problem was blamed on a birdstrike and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has confirmed plover carcasses were found at Gold Coast Airport.

Controversially, passengers on that flight recalled being told to "Say a prayer" as they attempted to return safely.

Malissa Siaea was travelling with her husband to Malaysia for their honeymoon when "fire sparked out of the right-side engine" less than 20 minutes into the flight. "I'm not fussed about living or dying", he said and described the mid-air encounter as "exciting".

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In a statement, AirAsia X chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail, heaped praise on the pilots and crew.

"We would like to commend our pilot and crew members for their professionalism, and swift action to reassure passengers", he added.

The airline suffered its first fatal incident in December 2014, when AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crashed in stormy weather off Indonesia killing all 162 people on board.

Benyamin said AirAsia X will arrange for a special flight to transport all its passengers from flight D7207 to Kuala Lumpur as soon as possible.

The aircraft, registered 9M-XXT (MSN 1549), was operating flight D7207 from Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur when the incident happened.

The company said it complied with all safety standards set by the countries it operates in, including Australia.

  • Darren Santiago