A passenger died and several others were injured when Southwest Airline flight 1380 departing from LaGuardia Airport bound for Dallas, suffered a catastrophic engine failure and made an emergency landing in Philadelphia April 17. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said Seven other people were treated for minor injuries and that there was a fuel leak resulting in a small fire in one of the engines when firefighters arrived but quickly got it under control.
According to one passenger Marty Martinez, “everyone was in a state of panic after a piece of the engine crashed through a window and struck a passenger, killing her. Oxygen masks were deployed after the explosion with many people thinking the plane as doomed. “There was blood everywhere,”
Martinez said that people on the plane rushed to help the injured woman while a passenger was trying to plug the hole in the window with no success.
He said smoke came into the plane through the window and it was difficult to breathe through the oxygen mask.
“It was the most terrifying experience,” Martinez told CBSN. “I mean, to think that as I’m going down and people are jumping in my live feed and I’m like ‘the plane’s going down’ and I’m just thinking that at any moment now my internet could cut out and that would be that’s it.”
The plane is a Boeing 737 with a CFM engine which makes up a large part of the Southwest fleet. According to industry experts, this engine is a workhorse and this engine failure accounted for the first death from an in-flight accident on a U.S. airliner since 2009 Southwest CEO Kelly said he was not aware of any issues with the jet and engine involved in the accident. He said the plane was last inspected on April 15.
However, the type of inspection was not detailed. The engine manufacturer had issued a recommendation that engine with over certain hours be subjected to an ultrasonic test for potential metal fatigue.
Kelly said this is the first fatality the airline has had due to an in-flight accident. Kelly said the plane’s captain has been with the airline since 1994, and said the crew performed “magnificently.”
Boeing released a statement extending its deepest condolences to the family of the passenger who died.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane landed after the crew reported damage to one of the engines, along with the fuselage and one window. The NTSB sent a team of investigators to Philadelphia.
The B737 was manufactured in 2000. Seating capacity is 140. According to the reports there were 144 passengers and 5 crew aboard which included crew.