Malaysia Airlines flight shakes violently, forced to land

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SYDNEY – Passengers on a Malaysia Airlines plane flying from Sydney, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur which was forced to land in the central Australian city of Alice Springs said they were bracing themselves for a possible hard landing after the plane shook violently on Thursday.

“We suddenly experienced a very violent shaking of the aircraft and that probably lasted about five minutes and it was coming from one of the engines,” passenger Hugh Wolton told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We got a call from the captain on the deck describing how to make plans for an emergency landing, you know, the wording used things like ‘impact,’ so we were suddenly bracing ourselves for a rough landing.”

Passenger Peter Brooks said the captain announced there would be “a couple of impacts” and some passengers thought the plane would come down in the desert. But about 45 minutes later the captain said they would land in Alice Springs, he said.

The airline said the Airbus A330-300 plane experienced a “technical fault” in one of its engines and the pilot decided to divert the flight.

It said Flight MH122, which been flying close to the Western Australia state coast, landed safely in Alice Springs and “safety was not at any time compromised.”

The airline said passengers would spend the night in Alice Springs and then be flown to Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Malaysia Airlines suffered two disasters in 2014. Flight MH370 vanished in March 2014 with 239 people on board and another flight carrying 298 people was shot down over Ukraine a few months later. Photo by 陈霆, Ting Chen, Wing

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