The pilot of an AirAsia X plane asked his passengers to pray when the Airbus A330 started to intensely rattle midflight, The Independent reports.

The Airbus was bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and carried more than 300 passengers. Seventy-five minutes into the journey, the passengers heard a loud bang and then the plane rocked violently.

When the intense shaking didn’t stop, the pilot asked the passengers to pray—twice.

One of the two Rolls-Royce engines had failed which caused the plane to “shake like a washing machine.” The flight crew decided to turn around and return to Australia.

When the intense shaking didn’t stop, the pilot asked the passengers to pray—twice. He also asked for their cooperation and instructed them to hold the brace position as they landed at the airport in Perth.

The Australian and International Pilots’ Association vice-president, Shane Loney, said, “We don’t usually invite our passengers to pray.” He said the AirAsia X captain “could’ve worded things differently.”

Damien Stevens, a passenger, relived the incident and said, “It shook for the whole ride back, close on two hours.”

The plane landed safely and no passenger nor crew was hurt during the terrifying ordeal.

While many praised the pilot’s leadership, some criticized him for asking prayers from the plane’s passengers, The Blaze reports.

The Australian and International Pilots’ Association vice-president, Shane Loney, said, “We don’t usually invite our passengers to pray.” He said the AirAsia X captain “could’ve worded things differently.”

In an editorial for Fortune, pilot Ron Nielson wrote, “I do not know exactly why the pilot thought it necessary to ask for divine assistance. But after 30 years of fielding questions and concerns from thousands of people who have a fear of flying, I assume that saying this would only confirm to any scared passengers that they were in serious trouble.”

A passenger of the AirAsia X flight slammed those who doubted the pilot’s call for prayers during the tumultuous flight.

In her Facebook post, Madeline Wright wrote, “It disgusts me that people are criticizing our captain for telling us to pray and are trying to get him fired. He was professional. He was human. His reassuring voice during this event gave us hope. He is the reason I am still alive and I cannot thank him enough.”

Sources:
Independentcouk. (2017). The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/airasia-rolls-royce-airbus-a330-perth-kuala-lumpur-engine-failure-scare-a7808086.html

Theblazecom. (2017). TheBlaze. http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/06/29/pilot-criticized-for-asking-passengers-to-pray-after-plane-started-intensely-shaking-midflight/

Thesundailymy. (2017). Thesundailymy. http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/06/28/‘judgment-call-pilot’

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Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at Joyce@onechristianvoice.com.

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