DEBATE is raging in Malaysia over whether an AirAsia X pilot had erred when he suggested that his passengers pray during a turbulent flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur.
Flight D7237’s Captain Ibrahim Jalaluddin reportedly made the suggestion when the aircraft began shaking violently in mid-air due to an engine malfunction. He also told them that their survival depended on their cooperation.
According to reports, the flight was forced to turn back after the pilot heard a sound when flying at 38,000 feet. It did, however, land safely in Perth.
While many commended the pilot, some said he should not have told his passengers to pray as such an instruction would create panic.
According to Captain Ibrahim, however, he neither panicked during the incident nor was he afraid, although he admitted his voice shook a little when he was making the announcement.
“I thought we had hit another plane. (Then) I knew that the left engine was not functioning, (because the) autopilot (kept turning the plane) left and right,” he was quoted saying in New Straits Times.
“It is possible that my voice shook and it sounded as though I was in fear because the plane was vibrating, and it’s possible that it distorted my voice making it (seem) that way. My assistant and I were really calm and always talking about how to handle the situation. We did not panic or get scared… it did not cross my mind.” the captain said.
“I only thought about the safety of the passengers and the plane,” he added.
AirAsia X and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce are conducting an investigation to find out the cause of the “technical issue”.