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AirAsia flight returns to Perth due to 'technical issue'

ABC News logo ABC News 25/06/2017

Passengers say a blade came off the left-hand engine's turbine. © Dave Parry Passengers say a blade came off the left-hand engine's turbine. A passenger says an AirAsia X plane was shaking like a "washing machine" when it experienced a problem with its engine, and was forced to turn back mid-flight to Perth.

WA marine rescue services were put on alert after AirAsia X flight D7237 experienced a "technical issue" this morning.

It had taken off just before 7:00am, bound for Kuala Lumpur.

The Airbus 330 landed back in Perth about 10:00am, with emergency services on site as a precaution.

Water Police said marine emergency services north of Perth were put on standby to prepare for a possible water landing.

Passenger Brenton Atkinson, 24, said the whole plane started shaking, far more than standard turbulence.

"It was essentially the engine seized up I think, that's what they told us anyway," he said.

"The whole thing, the plane started vibrating and shaking pretty bad, and we had to turn around and come back.

"Once we landed we realised one of the blades had actually come off the turbine." "It was literally like you were sitting on top of a washing machine. The whole thing was going. We could see the engine out the window which was really shaken on the wing."

Mr Atkinson, who was hoping to make a connecting flight to Istanbul, said the flight turned around about an hour-and-a-half into the journey.

He praised the professionalism of the crew.

"It was like, shaking a lot, so that was pretty unnerving. Everyone kind of handled it pretty well.

"No one-was freaking out too much. It was a bit nervy. [The crew] handled it really well."

'Brace for landing'

Karrinyup resident Dave Parry was on the plane with his wife, three children and mother-in-law.

"There was sort of a bang, and you could see the cabin crew were startled, and then a shudder started straight away, and I had a sense the plane was turning around." Mr Parry said the captain made an announcement shortly after, saying there appeared to have been an engine seizure.

He said they were told to brace for impact on landing.

A spokeswoman for the airline said emergency services were called in as a precaution only, and only as normal procedure.

She would not confirm if the plane's engine was affected, responding only that it was a "technical issue".

AirAsia have been approached for further comment.

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