Passenger describes ‘crying and screaming’ during Southwest Airlines emergency landing after tire failure

Flight attendants were preparing passengers to use emergency doors and slides, she said

Michelle Del Rey
Sunday 09 June 2024 10:54
United Airlines flight loses tire during take-off

A passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight that was forced to turn around after a tire failed just after takeoff recalled the panic on the plane as travelers prepared for an emergency landing.

“When the flight attendants said we were going to have an emergency landing, we started to panic a little bit. People were definitely crying and screaming and trying to console one another,” Julianna Donadio recalled to Fox 31.

Southwest Airlines flight No 225 had just taken off from Denver International Airport around 6:30 p.m. on June 3 and was heading to Phoenix, Arizona, when the tire “failed,” according to the airline.

Donadio, who lives in Boulder and was on her way to visit her mother, said the tire made a loud sound.

“We knew we blew a tire, but we didn’t know what the landing gear situation was,” she said. “They started preparing us for crash position, so having our head between our knees, and they were informing the emergency exit line how to open the doors and operate potentially the slides.”

A United Airlines flight lost a tire in March and landed on a Toyota Corolla, destroying it
A United Airlines flight lost a tire in March and landed on a Toyota Corolla, destroying it (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The crew on board the flight remained calm as they braced for impact. “When we landed, everyone was cheering and clapping,” the woman said.

In a statement, Southwest confirmed the plane “landed without incident.”

“Southwest Flight 225 returned safely to Denver on Monday, June 3, after a tire failed during takeoff. Following standard Safety procedures, the Pilots declared an emergency prior to landing. The flight landed without incident and taxied off the runway. A separate aircraft operated the scheduled flight to Phoenix,” the airline said.

A similar - but more extreme - situation occurred in March when a United Airlines flight left San Francisco International Airport for Japan and lost a tire. The wheel fell off the plane and landed on a Toyota Corolla, destroying it.

The plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport, where authorities had fire engines on standby.

In both cases, the aircrafts were manufactured by Boeing. The company has come under intense scrutiny after an Alaska Airlines flight in January lost a door plug at 16,000 feet.

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircrafts worldwide until they could be inspected. Some of the planes returned to the skies later that month.

The Independent emailed Southwest for comment.

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