Published on Thursday, November 28, 2019

ATSB: AirAsia crew caused 'confusion and panic' on Bali-bound flight

Budget carrier AirAsia Indonesia has been asked to review its safety operational training after a critical report by Australian air accident investigators.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau called out the airline on a number of failures during AirAsia Indonesia flight from Perth to Bali.

After a cabin pressurisation problem, cabin crew shouted out 'brace', 'get down' and 'crash position' causing unnecessary 'chaos and confusion,' ATSB said.

The plane plunged quickly from 34,000 feet to 10,000 feet and oxygen masks were deployed.

"During the emergency descent, some oxygen masks did not deploy or passengers felt they were not receiving oxygen,'' the ATSB said.

"Consequently, some passengers then moved around the cabin to find a functioning oxygen mask unit."

That was when cabin crew gave instructions that were 'inappropriate for a depressurisation, which had the potential to increase confusion in the cabin and likely increased the level of panic.'

ATSB investigators also found the pre-flight safety briefing and safety information card did not give clear enough instructions on how to use oxygen masks.

The airline could have avoided the problem in the first place if it followed the manufacturer's recommended use of the pressurisation system.

"The improvements were communicated to the airline by service bulletins. Incorporating the bulletins would have likely prevented the emergency descent incident," the agency said in the report.

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