Published on : Monday, October 16, 2017
Passengers on an AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali on Sunday criticised the flight crew for allegedly screaming when the aircraft rapidly descended 20,000 feet, apparently following a pressurisation issue in the cabin.
“The panic escalated because of the behaviour of the staff, who were screaming and looked tearful and shocked,” passenger Clare Askew told reporters after the plane turned around and landed safely back in Perth.
Video showed oxygen masks deployed aboard AirAsia Flight QZ535, as a member of the cabin crew shouted “passengers, get down, passengers, get down.” Such instructions are in line with routine flight crew practice when seeking to quickly secure passenger safety.
“We look to them for reassurance and we didn’t get any. We were more worried because of how panicked they were,” Clare said.
Data from Flightaware.com shows the plane, an Airbus A320, plummeted from above 34,000 feet to 10,000 feet in a matter of minutes. It’s standard practice for pilots to descend to that altitude in the event of cabin depressurization.
AirAsia said in an email that the flight was diverted after a “technical issue”.
“We commend our pilots for landing the aircraft safely and complying with standard operating procedure,” Capt. Ling Liong Tien, AirAsia Group’s head of safety, said in the statement. “We are fully committed to the safety of our guests and crew and we will continue to ensure that we adhere to the highest safety standards.”
The aircraft was being examined Sunday to find the cause of the problem. AirAsia did not comment on the allegations levelled against the cabin crew.
The budget flight company has faced similar accusations of crew behaviour this year.