Passengers on board Southwest Airlines Flight 3472 had a lucky escape after the Boeing 737 aircraft used for the flight was forced to make an emergency landing. According to CNN, the flight which was on its way from New Orleans to Orlando had to be diverted to Pensacola International Airport after one of its engines suffered a malfunction and exploded in mid-air. According to passengers onboard the plane, the plane started shaking violently seconds after the explosion. Breathing masks were also deployed.
According to a woman who was onboard Southwest Airlines Flight 3472, she was traveling with her husband and three children when the explosion happened. In an interview to local news station KOCO News, she described the incident and said that since she was seated by the window, she could see the damage sustained by the engine.
“It was just a big explosion. There was some smoke and then nothing. I saw parts flapping in the wind.”
She also added that passengers onboard the plane started screaming and crying seconds after the explosion.
“The crew stayed professional. They were amazing. I mean, we couldn’t have had a better crew, and it was thanks to that pilot that we’re all alive,” the woman further said.
According to her, the aircraft stabilized shortly after the explosion, following which one of the pilots walked out of the cockpit and into the cabin to tell them that one of the engines had lost power and that they would me attempting an emergency landing.
According to Southwest Airlines, there were 99 passengers and five crew members onboard the aircraft and none of them were hurt. The airline also issued a statement shortly after the incident.
“Today, the Captain of Flight #3472 from New Orleans to Orlando made the decision to divert to Pensacola due to a mechanical issue with the number one engine. The flight landed safely without incident at Pensacola International Airport at 9:40 a.m. central time. Initial reports indicate there were no injuries among the 99 passengers and five crew members onboard. We have notified the NTSB, and when authorized, we will be inspecting the aircraft to assess the damage. The aircraft is out of service, and we will work to accommodate the passengers to Orlando or their final destination as soon as possible.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed the incident and described the incident as a mechanical issue.
Meanwhile, images of the damaged engine of the plane was posted across various social media websites, including Twitter. We have embedded a few of the images below.
El vuelo de Southwest 3472 tuvo que realizar un aterrizaje de emergencia luego de que un motor fallara. Foto CNN pic.twitter.com/j6L8VkJNAA
— Matias Gargiulo (@matigargiulo) August 28, 2016
— FOX10News | WALA (@FOX10News) August 27, 2016
Southwest B737 ile 3472 sayılı New Orleans-Orlando uçuşunda motor parçalandı. Uçak başarılı bir iniş gerçekleştirdi. pic.twitter.com/8dN6TJvTgS
— Havacılık|Aviation✈️ (@HavaSosyalMedya) August 27, 2016
A few hours after the Southwest Airlines Flight 3472 incident, the company issued another statement with additional information which read.
“When we have an operational event that results in aircraft damage and/or passenger or crew injuries, that can trigger a review or investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). When the NTSB decides to launch an investigation, we give the Board our immediate cooperation so that we are able to properly streamline information and avoid speculation (especially this early). If you do not see an update from us, that is because we are working behind-the-scenes with the NTSB to follow this process.”
Like the FAA, the NTSB too has termed the incident as an “uncontained engine failure”. Investigation is currently underway to find out what happened.
[Image via Pixabay]