Malaysian plane scare as flight diverted to Alice Springs

A Malaysia Airlines flight was forced to divert to the Australian outback town of Alice Springs on Thursday for "technical reasons" in a scare one passenger described as "hell".

Flight MH122 was heading from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur when Australian reports said one its engines shut down.

It landed safely in the desert town of Alice Springs.

"Malaysia Airlines' flight MH122 from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur has been diverted to Alice Springs due to technical reasons," the airline said in a statement.

"The A330-300 aircraft safely landed in Alice Springs airport."

It added that "safety at all times is Malaysia Airlines' number one priority".

The airline has a chequered history with flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur shot down in July 2014 over war-torn Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

And in March the same year, MH370 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared with 239 people on board.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said the flight that was diverted Thursday was carrying 224 passengers.

One of them, Chin Kanani, told the broadcaster his wife became alarmed when she heard a banging sound.

"She said she was on the loo when she started hearing loud banging noises from the right-hand side of the plane and that's when all it started," he said.

"It was like hell this flight and they were told to be ready for an emergency landing."

Another passenger, Mohamad Nogheib, said "the engine started making a weird sound".

"I was scared for my life, I'm not going to lie," he told ABC.

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