In a flight that none of the passengers will ever forget, one died and seven others were injured after the engine of a Southwest Airlines jet blew open in mid-air, sending debris into the plane’s body and bursting a window.
Passengers heard the Boeing 737-700 airliner’s left engine explode about 20 minutes after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport Tuesday morning. The plane violently depressurized when the window broke open.
The explosive depressurization pulled a female passenger partially out of the jet, according to a passenger.
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Relaying information from his daughter-in-law who was on the flight, Todd Baur told NBC10 the woman was partially “drawn out” of the plane before being “pulled back in by other passengers.”
“The passenger who was sitting right next to the window that exploded was in critical condition, covered in blood,” said Matt Tranchin, who was sitting three rows behind her.
Another passenger, Eric Zilbert, said the woman was immediately given CPR by “several heroic gentlemen” who pulled her back through the window.
The Dallas-bound flight carrying 144 passengers and five crew diverted and made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport around 11:20 a.m. The engine was burning and fuel leaking when the plane touched down, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said. Firefighters doused the plane with fire-retardant foam to smother the flames.
Marty Martinez, who was aboard the flight, said a female flier — it’s unclear whether it was the same woman nearly sucked out — suffered a heart attack in the chaos.
“Someone on the plane had a heart attack and it looks like an engine blew out then a window was blown open,” he said on Facebook. “We are still on the plane and they are trying to revive a woman on the plane.”
The Boeing 737-700 made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport, where its 143 customers and five crew members were being deplaned, Southwest said in a statement.
On the tarmac, Joe Marcus tweeted a photo of the plane’s mangled engine, captioned, “What a flight! Made it!! Still here!!”
The airline didn’t immediately offer any official insight into what caused the terrifying breakdown.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
April 17th, 2018