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Malaysia Airlines flights forced to divert over ‘technical fault’

Jan. 19 (UPI) — A Malaysia Airlines flight turned back to Australia after a technical issue forced the plane to make an emergency landing.

Passengers on board flight MH122 from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur described how they were told to brace for impact after the plane began “shuddering” and a “loud bang” was heard from the left hand engine.

“This was followed by a warning indicator which appeared on the electronic aircraft monitoring system,” Malaysia Airlines said in a statement. “The captain then requested for the cabin crew to prepare for a normal landing.”

Donna Edwards, who was on the diverted flight, told 9News she thought she “was going to die.”

“The lights had just been turned off and everyone was settled in,” Edwards said. “All of sudden a massive vibration, the whole plane was shaking.”

“One of the crew stopped near us and one guy said ‘are we crashing or are we landing’. The crew member said ‘I don’t know’. We were just bracing for the worst. I thought I was going to die.”

Other passengers were “praying” and “had tears in their eyes,” according to passenger Sanjeev Pandev.

Peter Brooks, another passenger, said the plane erupted in cheers once the plane safely landed.

“We were told it was an emergency landing, it was going to be a heavy impact and then it went ‘we’ll have a normal landing, we’re ok’,” Brooks told ABC.

The Airbus A330-300 with 224 passengers on board landed safely at Alice Springs Airport and the airline arranged hotel rooms for the night for passengers.

Malaysia Airlines said the plane “experienced a technical fault on one of the aircraft’s engines” and added that “safety was not at any time compromised and the commanding captain decided to divert the flight for technical assistance.”

“Malaysia Airlines is also working very hard to reallocate passengers with onward connections on to the next available flights to their destination,” the airline said in a statement.

The incident will be investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, with members of the crew set to be interviewed.

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