Some of the Terengganu players at the arrival hall of the Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu on Wednesday.
PETALING JAYA: The high-riding Terengganu football team want to forget the horrifying experience on Wednesday when their Malindo Air plane’s engine caught fire in mid-air.
The ATR-72-600 aircraft, bound for Kuala Terengganu, turned back and landed safely at the SkyPark Terminal at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang.
There were no injuries and the team flew back on another flight to Kuala Terengganu a few hours later. The Turtles were due to return to Kuala Terengganu after picking up their first away win of the season after defeating Armed Forces 3-0 at the Selayang Stadium on Tuesday.
Terengganu coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim related the scary experience, saying it was like something from “the movies”.
“One of the propellers stopped working mid-air and everyone panicked. Some thought it was a malfunction but it was the pilot who had switched it off for safety reasons,” explained Abdul Rahman from Kuala Terengganu on Wednesday.
The former national coach said only when they touched down safely could everyone onboard breathe easy.
“As we touched down we could see an ambulance, fire engines and other rescue units on standby at the runway. I am glad that we are all safe. We have given the players a day off and they will return to training tomorrow.
“We have a big game at home against our east coast neighbours Kelantan on Saturday. We are top of the standings now but there are five teams who can overtake us in the next game, if we lose. It is an interesting scenario because we are near the half-way mark and there are no clear favourites yet.
“In fact, all 12 teams are capable of making a strong claim for the title. There are no runaway leaders as in the past. This means the competition is stiff and we have to be on our toes and make no mistakes if we are to remain at the top,” said Abdul Rahman.
Striker Mohd Norfarhan Mohd said he hopes the team will focus on their mission to win silverware this season.
“Of course, we are the surprise package but we are no pushovers and have good players this season. The local players are blending well with the foreigners and we should maintain our good form,” said Mohd Norfarhan.
Terengganu with 16 points are the current leaders in the 12-team standings ahead of Pahang and Selangor on goal difference. Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and Super League champions Lions XII are both tied at 14 points while Kelantan is just one point behind them.