AirAsia X Pilot Comes Under Fire for Asking Passengers to Pray on Troubled Flight

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Former law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim criticised the AirAsia X pilot who had urged passengers to pray during the Perth-Kuala Lumpur flight yesterday.

An AirAsia pilot’s call for prayers on the Perth-Kuala Lumpur flight that experienced technical problems 90 minutes after take-off was unbecoming, according to Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

Saw Siow Feng/The Sun Daily

In a series of Twitter remarks on the mishap that struck the AirAsia Airbus A330 yesterday, Zaid said the airline should not condone such actions by the pilot.

“AirAsia pilot urged passengers to pray on distress Perth flight. Good lord, I much prefer pilot don’t tell me death is imminent.

“Pilot has to give hope, and leave the rest to God and the passengers. If AirAsia are big into prayers; engage proper Iman and priest,” he wrote.

Zaid Ibrahim/Twitter

The AirAsia plane was forced to abort its flight and return to Perth, after it suffered an engine problem that caused the aircraft to shake “like a washing machine”, according to passengers.

AirAsia X flight D7237 left Perth at 6:50 am yesterday for Kuala Lumpur and arrived back in Perth at 10 am.

The plane landed safely and without casualties, although some passengers were reportedly traumatised by the experience.

Apparently, affected passengers were offered A$20 vouchers following the incident, and made to queue for hours to get on the next available flight.

AirAsia X arranged for a special replacement flight to Kuala Lumpur which departed at 11:40 pm.

FMT news portal reported that passengers were surprised by the flight captain’s announcement.

“He (the flight captain) said: ‘I hope you all say a prayer; I will be saying a prayer too and let’s hope we all get back home safely’,” passenger Sophie Nicholas was quoted as saying by WA Today.

An explosion was said to have occurred on the left engine due to a broken fan on the turbine.

Many passengers were reportedly not happy with the support and services provided by AirAsia X after the plane landed this morning.

“In this kind of situation, you need counselling. My daughter was so scared. We went through a difficult situation, it was so intense,” ABC News quoted Rasool Zareie, who was on the flight with his family, on the way to Iran.

According to FMT, the West Australian newspaper said passengers near the left engine were asked to tell cabin crew if they saw any problems with the left engine.

Apparently, passengers were reminded of safety procedures and they practised the brace position for landing during the flight back to Perth.

Another passenger said the pilot announced that the return journey would be slower because they had the power of only one engine and to reduce the shuddering.

After the plane landed safely, everyone on board applauded the pilots.

“The captain did a very good job, he was reassuring and then we landed safely,” one man said.

Upon landing, passengers were informed that a blade had sheared off the left engine.