International desk, October 16: An AirAsia Indonesia flight has been forced to turn back to Australia after pilots were alerted to a possible loss of cabin pressure, airport officials say.
The Airbus A320, carrying 151 people, landed safely at Perth Airport.
AirAsia said the flight experienced a “technical issue”. Australian media said it had appeared to lose altitude.
“We were all pretty much saying goodbye to each other. It was really upsetting,” one passenger told the local Nine network.
A video taken on the plane, broadcast by local media, shows oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling and one person shouting “passengers get down, passengers get down”.
Another passenger, Claire Askew, told the Seven network that “panic was escalated” by airline staff who were screaming and appeared to be in tears.
In a statement, AirAsia said it was “fully committed” to the safety of passengers. It did not elaborate on the problem.
“AirAsia apologises to passengers for any inconvenience caused,” the statement said.
In June, an AirAsia X flight on its way to Bali was also forced to turn back to Perth after an engine problem left it “shaking like a washing machine”.
In December 2014, an AirAsia plane crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 162 people on board after the aircraft’s rudder control system malfunctioned during the flight.