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One dead after Southwest flight explosion that almost sucked woman out of plane

Passengers had to pull a woman back in after she was partially sucked out of the plane.

by Rex Santus
Apr 17 2018, 8:20pm

One person has died after a terrifying midair explosion caused by a damaged engine ripped open a window on a Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday, forcing an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

A woman was “drawn out” out of the Boeing 737 jet's window during the incident and had to be pulled back in by other passengers, a separate passenger’s father-in-law told a local NBC News affiliate. It’s unclear if this woman is the passenger who died.

A pilot reportedly confirmed the gruesome details to air traffic control, saying that part of the plane was missing and that, “They said there is a hole and someone went out." Firefighters also put out a fire in one of the engines.

Another seven passengers are being treated for minor injuries due to the accident. The other 143 passengers and five crew members left the plane mostly unharmed, according to Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. The Dallas-bound flight had left from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport and flew for a short time before it was forced to do an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

The National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t released much more information about the accident, but passengers aboard posted photos of the damage. One passenger, Marty Martinez, even live-streamed portions of the incident. After a few seconds, his Facebook Live video becomes too distorted to comprehend, but Martinez commented on the post that an engine exploded. Martinez also said that passengers were trying to revive a woman who had a heart attack.

“Engine exploded (we think) and shattered one of the windows, killing a passenger,” Martinez wrote. “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. Plane dropped dramatically and it smelled like fire with ash coming down on everyone thru the vents. Absolutely terrifying, but we are okay.”

A separate video, also posted by Martinez, shows passengers wearing oxygen masks as they prepared for a possible crash.

"There was blood everywhere," Martinez told CBS News.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt later gave a press conference and said that the incident was being investigated, though there wasn’t much information to report at the time.

Cover image: The engine on a Southwest Airlines plane is inspected as it sits on the runway at the Philadelphia International Airport after it made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (Amanda Bourman via AP)