TERRIFIED passengers on an AirAsia flight to Bali say they feared for their life after the aircraft plunged 20,000 feet in a mid-air emergency.

The plane dropped from 32,000 feet to 10,000 feet after a 'technical issue' on the flight, an hour out from Perth this afternoon.

Air masks from Air Asia flight 535 that had to return to Perth.
Air masks from Air Asia flight 535 that had to return to Perth. News Corp Australia

Oxygen masks dropped from above the seats and passengers have criticised staff on board the flight, who they say only made matters worse.

Clare Askew was among the 145 passengers on board flight QZ535 and she said the reaction of the airlines crew made the ordeal all the more frightening.

"The panic was escalated because of the behaviour of staff who were screaming, looked tearful and shocked," she said.

"Now, I get it, but we looked to them for reassurance and we didn't get any, we were more worried because of how panicked they were."

The flight took off from Perth - Bali bound at 11.15am this morning.

But an hour into the flight, just south east of Geraldton, it lost cabin pressure and returned to Perth.

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

News Corp Australia

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