AirAsia flight to Bali makes emergency Perth landing after plunging 20,000 feet

Passengers on an AirAsia flight to Bali have told of the moment they thought they were going to die when their aircraft plunged 20,000 feet.

The mid-air emergency happened an hour out of Perth on Sunday afternoon when its cabin pressure plummeted.

Malcolm and Janet Canning said it wasn't just passengers that were scared but airline staff too as the flight plummeted from 32,000 feet to just 10,000.

Video shows a cabin crew member yelling: "Passengers get down, get down".

Terrified passengers were given oxygen masks. Source: 7 News
Malcolm and Janet Canning say they were scared. Source: 7 News

When the oxygen masks dropped, panicked passengers turned to the crew for advice but say they were just as scared.

"The panic was escalated because of the behaviour of staff who were screaming and looked tearful," passenger Clare Askew said.

Flight number QZ535 took off from Perth and was Bali bound at 11.15 on Sunday morning.

An hour into the flight, just south-east of Geraldton it lost cabin pressure and dropped two thirds of its height.

Oxygen masks immediately dropped. Source: 7 news

With 145 terrified passengers on board, it turned back and returned to Perth safely.

In a statement, AirAsia say "The safety of our guests is our utmost priority. AirAsia Indonesia apologises for any inconvenience caused".

Most passengers got onto the next flight on Sunday with some hesitant to fly.

AirAsia Indonesia say engineers are examining the aircraft now, trying to work out what went wrong.

The flight dropped 20,000 feet. Source: 7 News
AirAsia said there was a mechanical issue. Source: 7 News

The budget airline has been under increased scrutiny from the air safety regulator over previous incidents.

In June the pilot of an Air Asia X plane told passengers to say a prayer after an apparent engine issue.

The flight was forced to return to Perth too.