A Southwest Airlines jet apparently blew an engine at about 30,000 feet and got hit by shrapnel that smashed a window and damaged the fuselage today, killing a passenger and injuring seven others, authorities said.
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Source: 1 NEWS
The plane, a Boeing 737 bound from New York to Dallas with 149 people aboard, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia just before noon (US time) as passengers breathing through oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling prayed and braced for impact.
A crew member on the plane reported to air traffic controllers that a piece of the plane was missing and "someone went out."
In the audio recording of the exchange, the crew member says the plane needed to slow down.
Photos posted by passengers showed a heavily damaged window near the damaged engine. Passengers reported seeing a woman being given medical attention on the plane.
'We just prayed and prayed'
"I just remember holding my husband's hand, and we just prayed and prayed and prayed," said passenger Amanda Bourman, of New York.
"And the thoughts that were going through my head of course were about my daughters, just wanting to see them again and give them a big hug so they wouldn't grow up without parents."
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said one person was killed. It was the first passenger fatality in a US airline accident since 2009, Sumwalt said.
Seven other people were treated for minor injuries, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said. He said there was a fuel leak in one of the engines when firefighters arrived and a small fire was quickly brought under control.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane landed after the crew reported damage to one of the engines, along with the fuselage and at least one window. The NTSB sent a team of investigators to Philadelphia.
Bourman said she was seated near the back and was asleep when she heard a loud noise and oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. She said the plane was fairly quiet because everyone was wearing a mask, while some passengers were in tears and others shouted words of encouragement.
"Everybody was crying and upset," she said. "You had a few passengers that were very strong and they kept yelling to people, you know, 'It's OK, we're going to do this.'"