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Bird strike grounds AirAsia flight

SYDNEY: An AirAsia flight to Malaysia was forced to return to Australia shortly after take-off following a suspected bird strike, the carrier said yesterday. It is the second incident involving the airline in the country in two weeks.

Passengers said the plane shook and loud sounds came from the right engine of AirAsia X flight D7 207 following its departure from Australia's Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur late on Monday.

The flight carrying 345 passengers and 14 crew was diverted to Brisbane airport just north of the eastern city and landed safely, AirAsia said.

"Two bird remains were found on the runway," the low-cost carrier said in a statement, adding that the starboard engine had experienced a "suspected bird strike".

The Malaysian airline said it was arranging a special flight to take the passengers to Kuala Lumpur. Passenger Calvin Boon said he saw flames going through the engine.

"The whole engine blew and flames went through it like (the video game) Resident Evil," the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted him as saying.

Another passenger, Mr Tim Joga, told The Sydney Morning Herald the plane started to vibrate minutes after take-off.

"The plane started shuddering, then there were a couple of bangs and a lot of light," Mr Joga said.

"I could see an orange light coming from the windows."

Another AirAsia flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur experienced technical issues about 90 minutes into the journey on June 25 and was forced back to Australia, with one passenger saying the plane was "shaking like a washing machine". - AFP

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