Terengganu's Malaysian Super League team was returning home when the engine of the plane they were in caught fire.
The Malindo Air turboprop plane was en route to Kuala Terengganu from Subang Jaya on wednesday morning.
Mr Mohd Syafiq Shahari, a young scout travelling with the Terengganu football team, was among those who endured the harrowing experience of witnessing flames licking away at the plane's port-side engine, Malay Mail online reported.
"I was scared… I thought I was going to die," the 25-year-old told the website. "We could feel the engine stopping abruptly, the plane was shaking."
The incident comes at a time when Malaysia is still grappling with the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Defender Zubir Azmi also posted on his Instagram account, expressing gratitude for their safety.
"After the plane returned to Subang, we thought of going back to Terengganu by bus as we were somewhat traumatised. But we took the replacement flight at 11.15am anyway."
Midfielder Mohd Faiz Subri posted a short note about their safe landing on his Facebook account along with a photo of the engine on fire.
He wrote: "An anxious moment but Alhamdulillah, we have returned safely to Subang Airport." Midfielder Mario Karlovic added that one of the engines gave way after the incident. He said: "Flying back to Terengganu from KL and plane catches fire in mid-air! Engine stopped working... Thank God we landed safe."
In a statement, Malindo Air said the plane encountered an incident as it climbed to about 7,000 feet (2,334 metres) soon after it took off at 7.30am.
Said the Kuala Lumpur-based budget airline: "The aircraft fire detection system was activated and immediately the operating crew carried out the emergency checklist as per the standard operating procedure to contain the situation.
"The captain decided to turn back to Subang and the aircraft landed safely without any further incident and no one was hurt.
"All the passengers were later transferred to another flight to Terengganu."
The statement said the cause of the incident is being investigated and has been reported to the relevant authorities, engine and aircraft manufacturer.
Malindo Air commenced operations in March last year.
Last Friday, a Malaysia Airline plane suffered damage when it hit a flock of ducks in Nepal. On Monday, another of the flag carrier's flight to South Korea was diverted to Hong Kong after an onboard power generator malfunctioned
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