Sydney, July 4: An AirAsia X flight from Australia's Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur was forced to make an emergency landing in Brisbane, after the Airbus A330 hit a flock of birds shortly after take-off.
Passengers aboard flight D7207 reported to have heard "four or five loud bangs" on the right side of the aircraft, reports Xinhua news agency. "I could see an orange light coming from the windows," one passenger told the media on Tuesday. "Someone said the engine's on fire and we should pray but mostly everyone remained calm."
According to Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority, "there was evidence on the runway of a bird strike", spokesman Peter Gibso said on Tuesday. Plover bird carcasses were found on the tarmac at the Gold Coast Airport, Gibso added.
In a statement, AirAsia X chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail, heaped praise on the pilots and crew. "We would like to commend our pilot and crew members for their professionalism and swift action to reassure passengers who were on board flight D7207 and to land the aircraft safely in Brisbane Airport," Benyamin said. Despite the rough ride, all 345 passengers and 14 crew were uninjured.
AirAsia X said it will arrange a special flight to Kuala Lumpur for the stranded passengers as soon as possible. The incident is the second in just one week for AirAsia, after an aircraft in Perth was also forced to make an emergency landing after suffering engine problems.