Mid-air terror for Warwick journo
AFTER travelling around the world and exploring different cities in four countries, I was elated with the experience but itching to get home.
A five-hour flight from Berlin to Abu Dhabi went off without a hitch, but was the shorter leg of a nearly day-long journey back to Australia.
Sadly, after going through immigration and waiting to board I was told the Brisbane-bound flight had been overbooked - I would not be flying out that night.
Following an anxious wait in a hotel overnight, I was thankful to be finally seated on the plane, but little did I know the worst was yet to come.
As we took off a thud came from the left side of the plane, too loud to be a simple skidding of the wheels on the tarmac, causing luggage to fall and oxygen masks to fall.
Our height didn't rise enough to be homeward bound and the acrid heat of the Arabian desert was seeping into the aircraft instead of a steady stream of cool air.
Soon after, the stewardesses were called to the flight deck and whispers spread among passengers - something was wrong.
"Your attention please - the pilot has just informed me we will be making an emergency landing," came the voice over the PA system.
Panic set in. Kids began wailing, some lone travellers were on the verge of tears and others had their heads bowed in prayer even before we were told to take the brace position.
We were only in the air for 15 minutes. Our pilot circled back to the tarmac and told us to brace about a minute before the touchdown.
The seconds keeping my arms tight against the seat in front of me seemed drawn out as I tried to keep my breath calm.
When we landed, a grateful round of applause erupted from the passengers, as well as a sigh of relief, everyone now brought together by this unfortunate event.
I write this from Sydney airport - 24 hours after I had planned on arriving back in Australia.
Though exhausted and a little shaken up, I couldn't be happier to be home.