Passengers of a Melbourne-Canberra Qantas Airways flight described the horrific moment the plane entered a thick fire cloud raging over bushfire-hit Victoria and New South Wales in Australia.

The huge fire cloud was part of a self-generated weather system called pyrocumulus. It happens when the moisture present in the air gets vaporized by fire and finally cools down to condense into clouds.

When the plane passed through the pyrocumulus cloud Sunday, it was hit by turbulence. Passengers said the sky seemed orange outside the window and the plane’s cabin slowly turned to black. "It just got greyer and greyer," passenger Matt McIntyre, told ABC News.

The pilots did their best to calm down passengers as they started getting nervous. "There was one guy sort of swearing … I heard people down the front vomiting," said McIntyre.

Passenger Hua Tuo described it as the most frightening experience ever.

“The scariest flight that I've ever taken so far - flying from Melbourne to Canberra today,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “We got hit by a smoke storm. It was orange outside of the window then suddenly it was black, and then the turbulence hit... I was jumping off my seat!”

Tuo said the flight hovered above Canberra for a while and the captain assured they “had enough to go back to Melbourne,” in case they failed to land. “I was pretty sure at that point that I didn't want to stay another hour in flight,' crazy!”

McIntyre said although they felt the plane was caught off in the cloud for several minutes, the time was likely shorter than that. "Because it was so dark outside, it was just hard to get a gauge on exactly what was happening," he added.

Qantas fleet safety captain Debbie Slade said the pilots “ascended to a higher altitude,” as a different approach to reach Canberra. They finally had a normal landing one-and-a-half hours past the scheduled time.

Emergency services rushed to the plane after landing but no injuries were reported. The captain was reportedly greeted with a round applause at the airport.

The bushfires in Australia, that started in September and intensified in the last week, has so far claimed 24 lives. Australia is prone to bushfires in warmer months because of the dry weather conditions but high temperature (surpassed 40 degreed in some areas) and strong winds worsened the situation in the last week. The fires allegedly destroyed over 4 million hectors of land and destroyed at least 381 homes in New South Wales. As many as 500 million animals were also killed.

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