Passengers of AirAsia flight QZ535 claimed the crew was screaming as the plane plummeted to 20,000 feet on Sunday due to pressurization issues in the cabin.
AirAsia QZ535 — an Airbus A320 — left Perth, Australia at 11:15 a.m. for Bali, Indonesia. An hour into the flight, the plane reportedly lost pressure in the cabin and dropped from around 34,000 feet to 20,000 feet in a matter of minutes, CNN reported.
It also prompted the plane’s oxygen mask to be deployed to help passengers breathe.
According to one of the passengers, the crew of the flight suddenly started screaming during the whole ordeal, ordering them to “get down” and fasten their seat belts instead of using a much calmer tone.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) October 16, 2017
“The panic was escalated because of the behavior of the staff, who were screaming and looked tearful and shocked. We look to them for reassurance and we didn’t get any. We were more worried because of how panicked they were,” Clare Askew, a passenger on board AirAsia flight QZ535 told Australian news outlet 7 News Australia.
Another passenger, meanwhile, told news outlets that those who were on the flight were actually quite calm before the crew started screaming.
“They went hysterical. There was no real panic before that. Then everyone panicked,” Mark Bailey said.
The announcement playing on the plane intercom during the rapid descent added more panic on top of the screaming flight crew. Many passengers complained that they couldn’t understand what was being said because it was in different language.
One Twitter user, who goes by the handle @CaptRahmat, explained the incident in a long series of posts on Sunday evening. He wrote:
Because of the whole commotion, many passengers aboard the AirAsia flight QZ535 thought they were going to die.
“I actually picked up my phone and sent a text message to my family, just hoping that they would get it. It was horrible,” said Leah, of Perth, according to SBS.
Shortly after the incident, the airline apologized to the 145 passengers of AirAsia flight QZ535. Investigation into what exactly happened to the plane is ongoing.