UNLUCKY passengers traveling on an AirAsia flight from Malaysia to Australia have been stuck in Bali for more than 36 hours following two medical emergencies and immigration red tape.
Flight D7206, which left Kuala Lumpur International Airport at around 10pm on Monday night and was bound for Coolangatta on the Gold Coast, first had to make an emergency diversion to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport two hours into the flight after a passenger fell violently ill.
A passenger who was on board the plane, who asked to not be named, told Asian Correspondent that the sick passenger had suffered from appendicitis and had to disembark the plane. On Tuesday morning, after a delay of several hours, the flight resumed its journey to Australia.
However, misfortune struck again when the flight was forced to turn back to Bali due to another passenger suffering a medical emergency, this time a stomach ulcer which caused internal bleeding and had them vomiting blood.
When the Airbus A-330 attempted to leave Bali for the second time, Indonesian officials told them they were unable to take off as nine passengers listed on the flight manifest were missing from the plane. According to Indonesian law, a flight must leave with the same amount of people it arrived with and all passengers must be accounted for.
But according to our source, six of the missing passengers had simply booked alternative flights out of Bali back to Australia and had therefore already left the country, while the remaining three were unaccounted for.
“Everything was very unorganized and a few passengers exchanged heated words with ground staff,” said the passenger.
She added that she was one of the lucky few who, along with her young daughter, were allowed to wait in the relative comfort of the lounge.
“There was only space for 50 people to go into the lounge, which went to those with kids and the elderly – everyone else had to sleep on the floor or wherever there was space,” she said.
The passenger also said that according to the flight schedules displayed, the flight’s departure had been delayed several times, and that the latest departure time was for 2.30pm, local time.
The flight, which was originally scheduled to arrive in Coolangatta at 7.50am on Tuesday, local time, has been marked as “diverted” on several flight tracking websites.
Exhausted and quickly losing their patience, the passengers have resorted to posting about their plight on social media in the hopes that AirAsia would attend to the issue. Some have even tweeted AirAsia group chief executive Tony Fernandes calling for answers.
— Ashley Cripps (@ashley_veejay) February 16, 2016
@tonyfernandes We boarded flight to gold coast on monday night. All the passengers are still here at ngurai rai airport bali. Please assisst
— amerhamzah (@amerhamzahj) February 16, 2016
@AirAsia Will you be issuing a statement on flight D7206? Passengers are stranded in Bali. We've tried your call centre but no-one can help.
— Matt Bachl (@mattbachl) February 16, 2016
At the time of publishing, AirAsia had yet to make a statement regarding the issue.