Friday, 7 July 2017

My experience on AirasiaX D7 207 (Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur) mid-air emergency

Normally, I write about my trips in a consequential order by the day.. My last post was on my Japan holiday which I barely have written about the second day when I had to fly off to Gold Coast for work..

Being routinely, I would have finish writing about my Japan holiday before I begin writing about Gold Coast.. but allow me to just skip everything else to the end of the trip as I boarded AirAsiaX D7 207 on 3 July 2017 at Gold Coast bound for Kuala Lumpur..

It was supposed to be a routine flight like any other flight, but as the world have come to learn, it wasn't..

D7 207 was scheduled to depart Gold Coast at 10.20pm, having stopped for refueling on an earlier leg from Auckland.. So we boarded, took our seats and ready to get some sleep..

However, the plane did not back off until 10.50pm.. and minutes later we took off from Gold Coast Airport..

Barely 5 minutes later at around 3,800ft, there was four or five explosions at the right engine, we could see bright orange fireballs and it went "boom, boom, boom", as I would have described it in my Facebook which news globally quoted me..

The Star TV ... fast forward to 1:59

People were crying out "oh my God, oh my God" as the explosions went.. Some put on life jackets while others tried to take photos and videos..

We were later told to turn off all our phones and electronic devices..

The plane stopped climbing, the engine went silent.. at this stage, honestly, we did not know if we'll make it back to land, or to brace for a water landing.. everyone was very quiet and calm but the situation was very intense.. some people got up and away from the wing fearing fire..

Minutes later the captain spoke, "be seated and remain calm".. and a few minutes later the captain spoke again and this time telling us that we will be making an emergency landing in Brisbane Airport in about 10 minutes and that the airport has been very helpful..

Screen capture of the engine brightly engulfed..
Taken by a passenger seated in business class

We touched down in Brisbane Airport without any further incident and was escorted to the terminal by emergency vehicles and firetrucks..

As we parked, we were not allowed to disembark for another 20 minutes while the emergency services inspected the damaged engine..

Finally when the aircraft door opened, the captain walked out of the cockpit and greeted us as we left the aircraft.. Everyone praised the captain for his professionalism and calm in handling the situation..

Captured this photo from the terminal 

Fire truck inspecting

After clearing immigration and collected our baggage, we spent another couple hours sitting and sleeping in the terminal waiting for further information.. we knew we had to spend the night in Brisbane but nothing was forthcoming and nobody was around to tell us anything..

Just a waiting game

2 hours passed before the airport announced that hotel and transportation arrangement is being made and that we will be taken to hotels..

The police and airport security were there together with airport staff managing the distribution of the hotels to the passengers..

At 2am, officers can only began to be seen with us

The first news broke with New Straits Times and The Malay Mail heard about it from my Facebook and quoting my Facebook post as it was..

Moments later, the Australian media outlets began picking up news and by morning, reporters found us at our hotels eager to interview us..

We reached our hotel the Oakwood Hotel & Apartments in downtown Brisbane about 5am and I only have a few hours nap before I was woken up by notification buzzes on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of reporters wanting to talk..

I agree to talk to 2 TV stations which were already at the hotel lobby as I went downstairs for a quick breakfast.. but I forgot the stations names and now I have trouble trying to find the clips..

We stayed put in the hotel waiting for further updates which unfortunately, AirAsiaX needs to buck up and improve on.. The update on the replacement flight came by telephone around 2pm something and the hotel went around giving 5 minutes notice "you have to leave now now now, the bus is here". and 5 minutes later the bus left..

As you guessed it, my group and I did not get the news on time and left stranded at the hotel.. we called for a taxi and sped to the airport mad through Brisbane CBD..

Replacement flight was an empty aircraft sent from Kuala Lumpur and was scheduled for departure at 6.10pm as D7 689 (my friend was tracking the plane on Flightradar24 and providing me hourly updates on the aircraft whereabouts).. When we arrived at the airport at 3.40pm there were like 300 over passengers ahead of us in the check-in queue..

Check-in took about 3 hours plus and while waiting in the queue, several reporters tried to get interviews and photos and videos.. Some of us talk, while some declined to be interviewed..

TV crew taking a rest

Queue starts here. 3 hours to counter.

AirasiaX call sign at Brisbane Airport departure screen

1 hour to counter

Boarding beginning 7pm

Check-in finally closed at 7pm and boarding then soon began.. D7 689 finally took off from Brisbane at 7.45pm amid heavy security presence at the gate.. Everyone on board were given complimentary meals and then we settled in and got some sleep..

D7 689 boarding pass
Nasi lemak/chicken rice meal for everybody

Landed safely at 2.30am and again, several reporters were waiting outside the arrival hall of KLIA2 trying to get interviews.. Once out, I made an Uber request and went home at around 4am, and by 5am I was already on my own bed and dozed off.........

My Facebook post which media outlets across the world picked up my line..

Below these are just some of the news outlet picked up on my Facebook and quoted me as saying, "boom, boom, boom"..

Just google "Airasia D7 207 Eric Lim"... hahahaha

The Sun

MALAYSIA: Places And Foods
(they were the first one to pick up on my story, roughly about half an hour after I posted the first FB post)

MALAYSIA: New Straits Times
(NST gave me ample "publicity", being the second news outlet to pick up the news as it happened)

MALAYSIA: The Malay Mail

MALAYSIA: FMT - Free Malaysia Today

MALAYSIA: MSN'suspected-bird-strike'-forces-airasia-x-flight-to-land-in-brisbane/ar-BBDHQJg





UNITED KINGDOM - The Telegraph


UNITED KINGDOM - International Business Times

INDONESIA - Tempo.Co Bisnis


SINGAPORE: Channel News Asia

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