An Indonesia AirAsia jet traveling from Australia to Bali dropped 24,000 feet from the air in just nine minutes on Sunday, terrifying passengers and crew. The incident happened approximately 25 minutes after takeoff. As oxygen masks dropped down from the ceiling, the flight crew attempted to prepare for an emergency but according to one passenger, Clare Askew, even the airline staff “were screaming, looked tearful and shocked,” as she added, “We looked to them for reassurance and we didn’t get any, we were more worried because of how panicked they were.”
Disaster was averted once the jet reached 10,000 feet and the cabin became pressurized once again, but it’s not likely an experience those on board will forget in their lifetimes. For one couple on board, the close call will be memorable beyond that of a near death experience, but because Chris Jeanes proposed to his girlfriend Casey Kinchella in what he thought were their final moments together. Jeanes had initially planned to propose while on vacation. “Luckily she said yes. We both reconfirmed with each other when we were on the ground,” he later told reporters.
Indonesia AirAsia said in a statement the pilot turned back “following a technical issue to ensure the safety of passengers.”
“We commend our pilots for landing the aircraft safely and complying with standard operating procedure,” AirAsia Group head of safety Captain Ling Liong Tien said. “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 budget airline also issued an apology to passengers for any “inconvenience” caused (because possible death does seem pretty inconvenient in the grand scheme of things), claiming that “the safety of passengers and crew is our priority.”
(Via NBC News)