One person is dead after a Southwest flight reportedly suffered a catastrophic engine explosion that broke a window on the plane, the National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed. The death marks the first time someone has died on a US airline in more than nine years.
According to Philadelphia's NBC 10, passengers on the Southwest flight headed from NYC to Dallas scrambled to put on drop-down oxygen masks after the plane's engine blew apart, broke a window, and depressurized the cabin. The plane reportedly suffered a catastrophic engine failure about 20 minutes after takeoff and the explosion sent a piece of the engine through one of the windows, leaving one passenger in critical condition.
One of the passengers, Matty Martinez, posted a brief Facebook Live while the plane was still in the air. In the comment section below the video he described the situation after the engine disintegrated.
"Flight attendants ran over calling for passengers to help cover the hole as they broke down and began uncontrollably crying and looking horrified as they looked outside,” he wrote on Facebook after landing. "Plane dropped dramatically and it smelled like fire with ash coming down on everyone thru the vents. Absolutely terrifying, but we are OK."
NBC spoke to the father-in-law of one of the passengers who said that another female passenger was almost pulled out of the plane when the window broke, but was "pulled back in by other passengers." Matt Tranchin, another passenger who was sitting three rows behind the woman, said that she was "in critical condition covered in blood." It's not clear if the woman is the same passenger who died after the accident.
In a statement Southwest said the airline was a Boeing 737-700 that had "143 customers and five crew members aboard." Shortly after the accident, the plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia at around 11:20 AM and one passenger was transported to hospital. Later in the day the NTSB confirmed that the passenger had died.
After the landing, passengers took to social media to share photos of the explosion and the broken window. Other photos show passengers franticly trying to put oxygen masks on over their faces.
All flights departing from Philadelphia have been canceled and the National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed it will be investigating the situation.
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