Passenger killed after engine fails, window shatters on Southwest Airlines flight
One person died after an in-flight engine failure and smashed window forced Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia Tuesday morning, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed.
The plane, carrying 144 passengers and five crew members, was flying from New York’s La Guardia Airport to Dallas when part of the left engine cover ripped off and a window was damaged.
Officials said multiple alarms sounded about 20 minutes after takeoff. Pilots contacted traffic control and began an emergency landing.
Debris from the plane was found up to 70 miles north of the Philadelphia airport, NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said at a Tuesday evening press conference.
The victim was identified as Jennifer Riordan of Albuquerque, N.M. Gov. Susana Martinez called Riordan “an incredible woman who put her family and community first.”
Southwest Airlines chief executive Gary Kelly said at a press conference Tuesday night he was not aware of any prior issues with the aircraft nor the engine. He also said the aircraft was last inspected on April 15, just two days before the crash.
WATCH: Woman killed in Southwest Airlines incident named as investigation continues
Details of Riordan’s injuries weren’t available but one witness told her family a woman was hurt when a window broke mid-flight.
Todd Baur, who identified himself as the father-in-law of a passenger from the plane, told Philadelphia’s NBC-10 television that a female passenger was injured when she was partially sucked through a window near the afflicted engine before other passengers and crew came to her aid.
“The left engine blew and apparently threw shrapnel into one of the windows and depressurized the plane immediately,” Baur told NBC. “One passenger, a woman, was drawn partially out of the plane, and was pulled back in by other passengers.
WATCH: Passengers say a woman was pulled back in after she was partially sucked out of Southwest flight 1380
“Fortunately there was a nurse on board, a couple of EMTs, people who were able to administer CPR immediately.
Sumwalt confirmed that there was one fatality because of the incident. It was the first death stemming from an in-flight accident on a U.S. airliner since 2009, when 49 people on board and one of the ground were killed in the crash of a Continental Express plane near Buffalo, N.Y.
Fire officials in Philadelphia said 12 other passengers were assessed by a medical team on the ground, and seven of those were treated for minor injuries.
WATCH: Robert Sumwalt of the NTSB reports there was “one fatality” aboard the Southwest Airlines flight that experienced engine failure and had to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Officials said after the plane landed, they found a fuel leak and a small fire in one of the engines in the aircraft but couldn’t comment if that was the reason for the emergency landing.
A go-team from the NTSB was on scene Tuesday evening to start their investigation. Sumwalt, who also travelled to Philadelphia, said the investigation would take 12-15 months.
The engine will ultimately be shipped off-site so the NTSB can do a detailed investigation.
Sumwalt also said he was unable to classify the incident as an “uncontained engine failure,” until investigators are able to confirm which parts of the engine ripped off.
Southwest Airlines personnel are working with the remaining passengers to accommodate them as they are currently still at the airport in Philadelphia.
WATCH: Southwest Airlines passenger describes emergency landing
Passenger Marty Martinez did a brief Facebook Live posting with the caption “Something is wrong with our plane! It appears we are going down! Emergency landing!! Southwest flight from NYC to Dallas!!”
He then posted images and video from the flight saying the “engine exploded in the air.”
Television images showed visible damage to the plane’s exterior and a man who said he had been a passenger on the aircraft told CNN he heard a loud bang during the journey and saw damage to the engine.
“All of a sudden, we heard this loud bang, rattling, it felt like one of the engines went out. The oxygen masks dropped,” the passenger, Kristopher Johnson told CNN. “It just shredded the left-side engine completely … it was scary.”
WATCH: Southwest flight makes emergency landing after engine blows hole in plane
Passenger Amanda Bourman, of New York, told the Associated Press that during the incident she just “prayed and prayed and prayed.”
“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.” she said.
She said that everyone started yelling to brace for impact when the plane started to land. Everyone clapped and praised the pilot after he set the aircraft down.
The Southwest flight that was diverted due to an engine issue was a Boeing 737-700. The manufacturer tweeted that it is aware of the incident and ready to help.
— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.