AirAsia 'bird strike' forces Brisbane landing as passengers report fire and 'explosion'

AirAsia flight turned back to Australia after suspected bird strike

Passenger Tim Joga, 31, told Fairfax Media that the plan started "shuddering" after "four or five bangs" were heard less than ten minutes into the flight.

Passengers aboard AirAsia X flight D7207 yesterday said sparks were seen coming out from the aircraft engine.

"It started making amusing noises when we were getting ready for take-off", Malissa Siaea told Fairfax.

"About 20 minutes into the flight fire sparked out of the right-side engine..."

She said not many passengers even realised there was a problem until a man yelled out "What the heck is happening?"

AirAsia later said it suspects the incident was caused by a bird strike.

The Kuala Lumpur bound plane with 345 passengers and 14 crew was diverted to the nearby eastern city of Brisbane, where it landed safely overnight.

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"The airport also has a long-standing relationship with a leading bird strike management specialist, providing technical advice and assistance in active management of wildlife at the airport", it said in a statement.

Controversially, passengers on that flight recalled being told to "Say a prayer" as they attempted to return safely.

Mr Gibson praised the actions of the pilot and said CASA would review the incident but wasn't considering any other action. "I'm not fussed about living or dying", he said and described the mid-air encounter as "exciting".

"We are following all regulatory guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests, who are now being attended to by our ground staff", AirAsia X chief Benyamin Ismail added.

The Malaysian airline said it was arranging a special flight to take the passengers to Kuala Lumpur.

That flight, D7237 with 359 people on board, on June 28 landed safely and investigations are continuing.

The aircraft, registered 9M-XXT (MSN 1549), was operating flight D7207 from Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur when the incident happened.

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