A shocking experience for passengers of an Air Asia Indonesia flight from Perth, Australia to Bali as the aircraft lost cabin pressure and lost 20,000 feet from it’s cruising altitude a short while after take off.
Not how anyone would like a vacation (or any trip for that matter) to start off and Air Asia Indonesia explained the incident with a ‘technical fault’.
Air Asia Indonesia flight QZ535 took off from Perth to Bali at 11.15 on Sunday morning with the incident occurring an hour into the flight.
I’ve read a couple news reports about this and they pretty much all used the term that the aircraft ‘plunged’ 20,000 feet while the Flightaware data (access here) shows that it was actually a descent that took about 12-15 minutes. I’m not sure sure if that classifies as a plunge but rather a rapid decent. At the same time the oxygen masks were deployed.
CNN reports (read here) that there was chaos in the cabin and that the crew was criticized for panicking and being uncoordinated.
Passengers aboard an AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali Sunday have criticized the flight crew for allegedly screaming when the plane suddenly dropped 20,000 feet.
“The panic was escalated because of the behavior of the staff, who were screaming and looked tearful and shocked,” passenger Clare Askew told CNN affiliate Seven News Australia after the plane landed safely back in Perth.
“We look to them for reassurance and we didn’t get any. We were more worried because of how panicked they were,” she said.
Video showed oxygen masks deployed aboard AirAsia Flight QZ535, as a member of the cabin crew shouted “passengers, get down, passengers, get down.”
“They went hysterical. There was no real panic before that. Then everyone panicked,” said another passenger, Mark Bailey.
It’s always one thing to be trained for a situation and then actually being confronted with one so I’d be careful in my judgement of such an emergency situation. If you get scared you get scared. Easy to say ‘it shouldn’t be like that’ but there is really no way to have any influence on that.
There was another incident in June that also involved an Air Asia flight, back then with a malfunctioning engine and the pilot urged passengers to say a prayer over the intercom. I’d consider that much more unprofessional but wouldn’t go as far as saying there is a pattern of behavior here.
At least there were no casualties or even injuries related to this incident so the way that the media dramatizes the whole situation appears a little bit out of proportion. Yes, it’s serious but to start characterizing it as ‘plunging from the skies’ starts the entire discussion off on the wrong foot.