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Southwest flight makes emergency landing

A Southwest airplane made an emergency landing at the Philadelphia International Airport after an engine blew in flight. CNN's Jason Carroll reports.

Posted: Apr 18, 2018 11:19 AM
Updated: Apr 18, 2018 11:19 AM

Passengers aboard a Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday heard an explosion before seeing oxygen masks drop from the ceiling and a woman sucked toward a broken window in the plane, a witness said.

One person died in the incident, according to National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt. The person has not been identified.

"Everybody was going crazy, and yelling and screaming," passenger Marty Martinez said of the flight, which left New York and was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

"As the plane is going down, I am literally purchasing internet just so I can get some kind of communication to the outside world," he said.

The plane had suffered damage to one of its engines, and according to passenger Kristopher Johnson, who was sitting near the front of Flight 1380, debris from the engine flew into the window, breaking it and injuring a woman sitting nearby.

"Shrapnel hit the window causing a serious injury. No other details about that. Several medical personnel on the flight tended to the injured passenger," Johnson said.

The crew reported damage to one of the aircraft's engines as well as the fuselage and a window, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

The injured woman's arms and body were sucked toward the opening in the plane, Martinez recalled in a phone interview. Objects flew out the hole where the window had been, and "passengers right next to her were holding onto her. And meanwhile, there was blood all over this man's hands. He was tending to her," said Martinez, who was sitting a row or two away from the woman.

Other passengers began trying to plug the hole with jackets and other objects but to no avail. Those items, too, were sucked out of the plane, he said.

Martinez said he didn't think he would survive. Nor did his colleague in an adjacent seat who was scrambling to write one last message to his wife and unborn son, he said.

"We could feel the air from the outside coming in, and then we had smoke kind of coming in the window. Meanwhile, you have passengers that were in that aisle, trying to attend to the woman that was bleeding from the window explosion," he said. "That was just chaos all around."

The plane descended precipitously, Johnson said, but the pilot regained control and informed passengers the flight was headed to Philadelphia.

"The crew did a great job," he said.

The flight tracking website FlightRadar24 estimated the Boeing 737-700 descended from 31,684 feet to about 10,000 feet in a little over five minutes.

It was a rough landing, Martinez said, and things were still so chaotic that he wasn't sure if the plane was going to crash. The jet could have been landing on a freeway for all he knew, he said.

"I didn't know if we were going to be running into a building. I didn't know what state the plane or even the pilot was in, if we were in condition to land," he said. "It was just all incredibly traumatic, and finally when we ... came to a halt, of course, the entire crowd was (in) tears and people crying and we were just thankful to be alive."

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said earlier that one of the 149 passengers and crew members on board was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Seven others were treated for minor injuries.

"We are in the process of gathering more information," Southwest said.

Video from the scene showed the plane on the tarmac surrounded by emergency vehicles. The engine on the left wing was badly damaged.

Philadelphia International Airport said the plane landed safely. Passengers using the airport should expect delays, it said.

The NTSB sent a team to Philadelphia to investigate the incident. Boeing said it is providing technical assistance in the investigation.

The NTSB's Sumwalt said the plane carrying his team will return to Washington with the airliner's flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. The agency expects to have preliminary readouts by Tuesday night.

Sumwalt said part of the inquiry will look at the CFM International 56 turboprop engine. Last year the FAA issued an airworthiness directive on the CFM56-7B version that would have required inspection of the fan blades.

"There are various iterations of that (engine) and so I can't say exactly what that air worthiness directive might have applied to at this point, but that will be part of our investigation," he said.

The directive says the proposal came after an inflight failure.

In August 2016, a Southwest Airlines 737 flying from New Orleans to Orlando was forced to make an emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida, when an engine failed.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 333626

Reported Deaths: 3843
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Hennepin700691145
Ramsey29459521
Dakota23564198
Anoka23541236
Washington14864125
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St. Louis9549121
Scott896460
Wright847548
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Sherburne618746
Clay529960
Carver509715
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Rice432338
Blue Earth431217
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Otter Tail338925
Chisago334516
Benton322753
Nobles316032
Winona297832
Douglas283040
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Morrison246731
McLeod233721
Lyon232812
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Isanti203917
Carlton201417
Todd190314
Nicollet172126
Mille Lacs164632
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Brown156115
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Pope5721
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Marshall5459
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Lake4518
Koochiching4216
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Big Stone3392
Mahnomen3225
Grant2986
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Cook800

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 237371

Reported Deaths: 2571
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34873347
Linn14787169
Scott1184692
Black Hawk11288147
Woodbury10763137
Johnson985939
Dubuque947999
Story701924
Pottawattamie682474
Dallas661260
Sioux383829
Webster378339
Cerro Gordo373252
Marshall360950
Clinton345645
Buena Vista316614
Muscatine305172
Des Moines300623
Warren294115
Plymouth287044
Wapello265072
Jones237118
Jasper231546
Lee228719
Marion211922
Carroll204325
Bremer202713
Henry19367
Crawford183116
Benton175423
Tama157442
Jackson151117
Washington150216
Delaware147621
Dickinson145812
Boone144912
Mahaska133928
Wright13107
Clay12505
Buchanan123410
Hardin122812
Hamilton119514
Page11925
Kossuth11768
Clayton115510
Cedar114614
Harrison113432
Floyd111921
Mills11129
Calhoun10987
Fayette109812
Lyon10769
Butler10748
Winneshiek105513
Poweshiek103714
Iowa101414
Cherokee9674
Winnebago96325
Chickasaw9195
Hancock9138
Sac9068
Louisa90122
Grundy89514
Allamakee88413
Cass84725
Union8437
Mitchell8429
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Humboldt8125
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Jefferson7635
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