PHILADELPHIA — A Southwest Airlines jet apparently blew an engine at about 30,000 feet and got hit by shrapnel that smashed a window and damaged the fuselage Tuesday, killing a passenger and injuring seven others, authorities said. The plane, a Boeing 737 bound from New York to Dallas with 149 people aboard, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia just before noon as passengers breathing through oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling prayed and braced for impact.
National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt said one person was killed. It was the first passenger fatality in a U.S. airline accident since 2009, Sumwalt said.
Passenger Marty Martinez told CBSN from the plane that a woman was injured and was taken off the plane.
“There was blood everywhere,” Martinez told CBSN’s Anne-Marie Green.
Sumwalt didn’t identify the person who had died.
“I just remember holding my husband’s hand, and we just prayed and prayed and prayed,” said passenger Amanda Bourman, of New York. “And the thoughts that were going through my head of course were about my daughters, just wanting to see them again and give them a big hug so they wouldn’t grow up without parents.”
Seven other people were treated for minor injuries, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said. He said there was a fuel leak in one of the engines when firefighters arrived and a small fire was quickly brought under control.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane landed after the crew reported damage to one of the engines, along with the fuselage and at least one window. The NTSB sent a team of investigators to Philadelphia.
The flight was powered by CFM engines. An official told CBS News that CFM has sent representatives to the scene to support the investigation.
Bourman said she was seated near the back and was asleep when she heard a loud noise and oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. She said the plane was fairly quiet because everyone was wearing a mask, while some passengers were in tears and others shouted words of encouragement.
“Everybody was crying and upset,” she said. “You had a few passengers that were very strong and they kept yelling to people, you know, ‘It’s OK, we’re going to do this.'”
Martinez did a brief Facebook Live posting while wearing an oxygen mask. He posted, “Something is wrong with our plane! It appears we are going down! Emergency landing!! Southwest flight from NYC to Dallas!!”MiamiTight.com