A TERRIFIED passenger was saved from certain death when she was “partially sucked out” of a Southwest Airlines jet after its engine exploded ripping a hole in the plane.
The woman had to be pulled back inside by heroic passengers and crew after the aircraft was pierced by shrapnel at 32,000ft.
The Boeing 737 had just departed New York’s LaGuardia Airport en-route to Dallas when the left engine exploded and ruptured metal flew towards a window.
It was flying over east Pennsylvania with 143 passengers and five members of crew on board when the left engine suddenly exploded mid air.
The pilot immediately diverted towards Philadelphia to make an emergency landing and photos show what appears to be jet fuel, oozing from the passenger plane onto the tarmac.
According to other passengers on the plane, the shrapnel pierced a window next to the female passenger as the aircraft made its descent.
“One passenger, a woman, was partially drawn out towards the out of the plane, she was pulled back in by other passengers,” Todd Bauer, the father of another passenger on board, told NBC 10.
A nurse and an EMT who were also passengers helped her until the plane landed and she was taken to hospital. Her injuries are not known.
Passenger Amanda Bourman said she saw emergency medical workers using a defibrillator to help a woman. She is reportedly in critical condition with head injuries.
The New York resident said she was seated near the back of the plane and was asleep when she heard a loud noise.
She said the plane was fairly quiet because everyone was wearing an oxygen mask, while some passengers were in tears and others shouted words of encouragement.
Marty Martinez who filmed a live-stream of the emergency landing told CBSN “there was blood everywhere” on-board.
He said: “First there was an explosion almost immediately, the oxygen masks came down and within a matter of 10 seconds, the engine then hit a window and busted it wide open.”
Describing his live-stream, Martinez wrote: “Something is wrong with our plane! It appears we are going down! Emergency landing!! Southwest flight from NYC to Dallas!!”
Fellow passenger Kristopher Johnson, took a harrowing snap of the Southwest Flight 1380 engine, which was completely blown apart.
One person was taken to nearby Penn Presbyterian Medical Center hospital with critical injuries and nine others have also been injured.
The plane left New York City’s LaGuardia Airport an hour before the incident earlier and was set to arrive at Dallas Love Field.
One passenger told CNN: “It was a stable landing. We started descending, made the turn back to Philadelphia. We were with one engine for maybe 10 minutes.
“We decreased altitude from 8,000 to 5,000 and then when we finally landed it was relatively smooth, kind of a typical landing so the crew and the pilots did a fantastic job.”
It is not the first time the malfunction has occurred on a Southwest-operated Boeing 737-700.
In August last year, a flight from New Orleans to Orlando was forced to make an emergency landing at Pensacola Airport in Florida after the casing surrounding one of its engines tore away at a similar altitude.
The airport released the following statement: “Southwest Airlines flight 1380, which departed LaGuardia for Dallas Love Field (DAL), diverted to PHL because of an operational event.
“The plane landed safely. No slides were deployed.
“At this time, passengers are coming down a mobile stairway and are being bussed to the terminal. PHL Flights continue to arrive and depart but passengers should expect delays.
Southwest said the plane diverted “because of an operational event” and that it landed safely with no emergency slide deployment.
“Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our Customers and Crews at this time,” the statement said.
Officials are still said to be working at the scene.
Air safety expert John Goglia said investigators will take the Southwest engine apart to understand what happened and will look at maintenance records for the engine.
“There’s a ring around the engine that’s meant to contain the engine pieces when this happens,” Goglia said. “In this case it didn’t. That’s going to be a big focal point for the NTSB — why didn’t (the ring) do its job?”
Goglia said the Boeing 737 is a safe plane but engine failures occur from time to time.
“We’re pushing the engines to produce as much power as possible,” he said. “We’re right on the edge. Sometimes they fail, and that’s why the containment ring is there.”
Southwest has about 700 planes, all of them 737s, including more than 500 737-700s like the one involved in Tuesday’s emergency landing.
It is the world’s largest operator of the 737. The Boeing 737 is the best-selling jetliner in the world and has a good safety record.
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