MH122 passengers tell of loud noise, shaking

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines flight MH122 from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur was diverted to Alice Springs after suffering technical issues in the air yesterday.

Flight MH122, an A330-300, left Sydney Airport at 1.06pm local time and was meant to arrive at its destination at 6.30pm.

When the flight landed safely at Alice Springs at 5.48pm, the passengers clapped and cheered.

Passengers were reported as saying there was a loud noise coming from the side of the plane while it was diverted.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported passenger Sanjeev Pandey, from Sydney, was on the flight with two friends. They were on their way to run a marathon in Mumbai and were seated near the plane's left wing.

They heard a noise several hours into the flight. "There was a loud noise, then the plane started to shake a bit," Pandey was quoted as saying.

"The loud noise didn't stop for several minutes. It got louder and everyone was scared. All the flight attendants seemed nervous."

According to the report, the passenger said the noise stopped after about 10 minutes, and the captain announced that the noise had been due to bad weather.

"He said 'we are planning to return for assistance', then they had an emergency landing demonstration," Pandey said.

"They said there might be a crash landing. That made it even more scary.

"The flight attendants came to us and said 'this should be the position of your head, lean forward'. It was very scary. It was the first time I'd ever been in a very scary situation."

Another passenger, Madhu Alasyam, wrote on social media: "Kudos to pilot for safe landing in Alice Springs. The flight crew were very calm and thoroughly professional."

In a statement, Malaysia Airlines said: "Safety at all times is Malaysia Airlines' number one priority. The airline will provide more updates as soon as more information is made available.

"Safety was not at any time compromised and the commanding captain decided to divert the flight for technical assistance. The A330-300 aircraft landed safely in Alice Springs Airport at 5.48pm.

"All affected passengers have been given hotel accommodation, meals and transportation. Passengers will be transferred from Alice Springs to Kuala Lumpur on MH148/ Jan 19, 2018. The flight is scheduled to depart Alice Springs at 5.45pm and is expected to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 9.50pm the same day."