The AirAsia flight began to descend rapidly 25 minutes after takeoff

By Stacey Leasca
October 23, 2017 05:50 PM
Credit: An AirAsia Bhd. aircraft stands on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) in Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia, on Thursday, May 25, 2017. AirAsia Bhd., Southeast Asias largest budget carrier, reports quarterly results today. Photographer: Charles Pertwee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There’s nothing like the fear of imminent death to spark a romantic mood. Just ask Chris Jeanes, who recently proposed to his girlfriend, Casey Kinchella, as their plane began hurtling toward the earth on a flight from Australia to Bali.

On October 15, the couple’s AirAsia flight began to rapidly descend about 25 minutes after takeoff. According to reports, the plane dropped from 30,000 to 10,000 feet in just over nine minutes — a safety precaution triggered when the cabin loses pressure. As airline expert The Points Guy explains, if a plane’s cabin loses pressure at cruising altitude it will quickly descend to 10,000 feet, where oxygen masks are no longer needed and passengers can breath normally on their own.

Jeanes, who said he was planning to propose to Kinchella once they landed in Bali, instead chose the terrifying moment to pop the question.

“Luckily she said yes,” Jeanes told NBC News after the incident. He added, “We both reconfirmed with each other when we were on the ground.”

Thankfully for Jeanes, Kinchella, and all the passengers onboard, the pilots were able to safely land the plane about an hour after the incident took place.

“We commend our pilots for landing the aircraft safely and complying with standard operating procedure,” AirAsia Group head of safety Captain Ling Liong Tien told NBC. “We are fully committed to the safety of our guests and crew and we will continue to ensure that we adhere to the highest safety standards.”

AirAsia further apologized to passengers for the “inconvenience” and booked them on the next available flight to their destinations. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the Australian industry regulator, has asked the airline for information on what occurred on board and is currently investigating the incident.

In June, an AirAsia flight flying from Perth, Australia to Kuala Lumpur also experienced an unexplained mechanical issue.

“We were asleep and heard a loud bang around the 1-hour-and-15-minute mark,” Damien Stevens, a passenger onboard the flight, told CNN. “It shook for the whole ride back, close on two hours.”

To make matters worse, the pilot reportedly came over the intercom to tell passengers, “I hope you all say a prayer. I’ll be saying a prayer too and let’s hope we all get back home safely. Please listen to everything. Our survival depends on your cooperating. Hopefully everything will turn out for the best.”

Thankfully that flight was able to safely land back in Australia, too.

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