A Thai AirAsia flight made an emergency landing at Velana International Airport in Malé, Maldives after encountering a technical issue just 22 minutes after it took off on Thursday (Sept 5) evening.
According to Maldivian portal The Edition, flight FD178 departing from Velana International Airport to Bangkok, Thailand, returned after an engine caught fire.
Local witnesses claimed that an engine of the plane was on fire when it took flight. Videos of the incident went viral on social media, with netizens in Malaysia calling for the airline's safety practices to be investigated.
A vernacular daily cited a passenger as saying that the fire was put out while the plane was airborne before making the emergency landing, while international tabloids claimed that "terrified passengers had to kick-down the cockpit door as flight attendant ignored their warnings".
AirAsia Group confirmed the incident, saying that the aircraft encountered a technical issue during take-off.
Safety Head Captain Ling Liong Tien said the captain then turned back and requested a priority landing at Velana International Airport, in line with standard operating procedures.
"The aircraft landed safely at 8.41pm local time and underwent an engineering assessment in Malé," he said.
Source: The Star