KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysia Airlines aircraft was forced to make an emergency in Alice Springs, Australia today, following ‘technical reasons’.
A news.com.au report said MH122, en route from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, landed at 5.48pm (6.18pm in Malaysia).
Flight data, said the report, showed that the aircraft was diverted back to Alice Springs at 3.56pm (4.26pm in Malaysia).
The report said an engine had shut down.
The report said the aircraft turned around while it was flying above Derby in Western Australia, just as it was about to leave the airspace over the Australian continent.
The aircraft, said a report by 9news.com.au.,had been cruising at 36,000ft on its way to KL but when it was diverted back to Alice Springs, the plane was flown at a cruising altitude of 24,000ft.
9news.com.au quoted a passenger, Donna Edwards, as saying that “All of a sudden a massive vibration, the whole plane was shaking.”
She said the passengers were told by the crew to "brace for impact" but 30 minutes later they were told "it was under control."
Another passenger, Madhu Alasyam, wrote on Twitter the incident “scared the hell” out of him.
“Kudos to pilot for safe landing in #AliceSprings, after a brace-for-impact call.”
MAS, in a statement, said that the aircraft experienced a technical fault on one of its engines.
“Safety was not at any time compromised and the commanding captain decided to divert the flight for technical assistance. The A330-300 aircraft landed safely in Alice Springs Airport at 5.48pm.”
The airline said all affected passengers have been given hotel accommodation, meals and transportation. Passengers, it said, will be transferred from Alice Springs to Kuala Lumpur on MH148 on Jan 19.
“The flight is scheduled to depart Alice Springs at 5.45pm and is expected to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 9.50pm the same day.
“Malaysia Airlines is also working very hard to reallocate passengers with onward connections on to the next available flights to their destination.”