Woman 'partially pulled out of' Southwest Airlines plane after engine breaks cabin window

Officials have confirmed that one person has been killed in the incident

Clark Mindock
New York
,Simon Calder
Tuesday 17 April 2018 18:40 BST
Aerial video shows grounded plane at Philadelphia airport

A Southwest Airlines jet has made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after a piece of its engine broke off mid-flight and smashed a window, leading to a depressurisation that pulled a woman partly out of the cabin, according to family speaking to reporters.

The plane landed safely after the incident, and firefighters could be seen responding to the scene while some people exited the aircraft on crutches. One person was taken to a nearby hospital with reported head trauma, and seven others were treated for minor wounds. One person was later confirmed to have died, though it was not immediately clear if it was the woman who was transported to the hospital.

Passengers posted pictures of the damaged engine online, and one passenger, Marty Martinez, posted a live video on his Facebook page after the engine part damaged the window. The grainy footage showed one man putting a yellow oxygen mask on amid the chaos.

“One passenger, a woman, was partially ... was drawn out towards the out of the plane... she was pulled back by other passengers,” Todd Bauer, the father of the female passenger who was partially sucked out of the plane, told NBC in a phone interview.

The plane was flying from New York’s LaGuardia Airport on its way to Dallas.

Another passenger told CNN that a piece of the plane’s engine had acted like shrapnel, causing a serious injury and forcing the plane to divert from their position west of Philadelphia.

“We left LaGuardia heading to Dallas and we were west of Philly when we lost the left side engine and diverted to Philly,” they said. “Shrapnel hit the window causing a serious injury; no other details about that, several medical personnel on the flight tended to the injured passenger.”

But another passenger told the network the plane touched down normally.

“It definitely was a stable landing,” Kristopher Johnson said. “When we finally landed it was relatively smooth. Kind of a typical landing.”

Southwest released a statement acknowledging the emergency landing, and said they were working with passengers and crews regarding the incident.

“We are aware that Southwest flight #1380 from New York La Guardia (LGA) to Dallas Love Field (DAL) has diverted to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). We are in the process of transporting customers and crew into the terminal. The aircraft, a Boeing 737-700, has 143 Customers and five Crewmembers onboard,” the statement read.

“We are in the process of gathering more information. Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our customers and crews at this time.”

Southwest is statistically the world’s safest airline. Since starting operations in Texas in 1971, no passenger has been killed in a crash.

The airline, based in Dallas, is likely soon to overtake Delta to become the carrier that flies the highest number of domestic passengers.

The Philadelphia airport remained open, but a Twitter account warned passengers to expect delays.

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