Pilot urges prayers as ‘technical issue’ forces turnaround

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This photo taken on January 10, 2015 shows AirAsia passenger planes parked on the tarmac at the low-cost carrier Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) in Sepang. Until Flight QZ8501 went down everything had gone right during a spectacular 13-year run of success for AirAsia, which unlocked a booming market of budget travellers in the region. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN

An AirAsia X flight to Malaysia from Perth, Australia, was forced to turn back Sunday after the A330 aircraft began shaking due to what the airline called a “technical issue.”

Passengers said they heard a loud bang before the plane began shuddering, according to The West Australian newspaper.

“I thought I might die,” wrote @maesaya on Instagram, along with a video clip showing the plan’s seats rattling.

“You could tell by the cabin crew’s reaction that it was really bad,” said Sophie Nicolas.

She said the captain announced the plane would be returning to Perth, the newspaper reported. “He said, ‘I hope you all say a prayer. I’ll be saying a prayer too and let’s hope we all get back home safely.’ It was terrifying.”

AirAsia X Berhad confirmed in a statement that flight D7237 for Kuala Lumpur took off at 6:40 a.m. local time with 359 passengers on board and landed back at Perth Airport at 10 a.m.

“The safety of our guests is our utmost priority,” the statement said.

A Perth Airport spokesman said, “The pilot identified a technical issue with the engine. The plane turned around and safety landed back at Perth Airport at 9:57am local time.”