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 12:17 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2018 12:19 PM

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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33558

Reported Deaths: 2110
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9616571
Lake3538185
Cass15897
Allen145168
St. Joseph124834
Elkhart116328
Hendricks116171
Hamilton115693
Johnson1093108
Madison58559
Porter51627
Bartholomew50034
Clark49241
LaPorte42423
Howard39526
Tippecanoe3903
Jackson3791
Delaware37736
Shelby36822
Hancock32728
Floyd31839
Boone30935
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2652
Montgomery23517
White2318
Decatur22431
Clinton2231
Noble21121
Grant20621
Harrison19221
Dubois1923
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Dearborn16621
Vigo1648
Lawrence15423
Miami1411
Putnam1367
Jennings1304
Orange12522
Scott1193
Kosciusko1111
Franklin1098
Ripley1086
Carroll922
Marshall901
Daviess8516
Steuben812
Newton7710
Wayne776
Fayette767
Wabash762
LaGrange712
Jasper651
Washington521
Jay500
Fulton481
Clay471
Rush462
Randolph463
Pulaski460
Jefferson431
Whitley393
Starke363
Sullivan341
Owen341
Brown331
DeKalb331
Perry310
Benton300
Knox290
Wells280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Crawford240
Blackford242
Fountain202
Switzerland200
Spencer191
Parke170
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0164

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34566

Reported Deaths: 2131
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5674256
Cuyahoga4318226
Marion265728
Hamilton2603147
Lucas2202240
Pickaway205036
Mahoning1405173
Summit1380172
Butler86229
Columbiana73951
Stark71691
Lorain67259
Montgomery65117
Trumbull56248
Belmont41912
Warren35920
Miami35530
Tuscarawas3393
Ashtabula33034
Medina32823
Portage32257
Delaware32013
Lake30212
Wood28546
Geauga27732
Wayne26650
Fairfield2586
Clark2526
Licking23010
Allen21232
Clermont2065
Mercer2037
Richland1973
Erie16711
Darke16721
Madison1527
Washington11819
Crawford1104
Morrow1051
Greene1015
Ottawa9513
Putnam9014
Monroe7712
Sandusky7311
Auglaize713
Hocking694
Ross682
Jefferson672
Huron561
Williams541
Union511
Muskingum500
Hancock501
Hardin450
Clinton430
Fayette400
Shelby403
Wyandot392
Fulton390
Coshocton380
Logan370
Preble351
Guernsey340
Defiance332
Holmes321
Carroll303
Lawrence300
Brown281
Champaign271
Knox241
Highland231
Ashland200
Seneca202
Vinton192
Perry181
Athens181
Henry150
Scioto150
Paulding140
Jackson130
Harrison100
Adams91
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Meigs60
Pike60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 61°
Angola
Few Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 59°
Huntington
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 61°
Decatur
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 61°
Van Wert
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 61°
Sunny & Pleasant Weekend
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events