PHILADELPHIA. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Go Team from Washington are on the ground in Philadelphia investigating what caused the engine of a Boeing 737-700 commercial passenger jet operated by Southwest Airlines to explode mid-air, prompting an emergency landing and resulting in the death of one passenger.
Passengers of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 describe hearing a loud explosion and seeing shattered glass in mid-air, causing panic. Some accounts describe a window-seat passenger being partially sucked out of the hole in aircraft fuselage caused by the engine explosion, and being pulled back in by other passengers. Aviation engineers and MRO technicians have weighed in and speculate that a fin broke off the turbine of the engine, breaking a window in the aircraft cabin and creating a hole in the fuselage.
Image: Joe Marcus (@Joeasaprap), a passenger on the flight, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joeasaprap/status/986277894279311360
One person has died as a result of the mishap, marking the first accidental domestic airline fatality in nine years, according to NTSB officials.
Passengers took to Twitter to describe the incident, indicating that the passenger who died was a woman who suffered a heart attack. The pilot who successfully made the emergency landing -- after the engine failed at 38,000 feet, reports describe -- is a woman named Tammie Jo Schults. Schults greeted each passenger personally following the landing, and she was one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy.
Just two days prior, on 15 April 2018, passengers on another Southwest Airlines described a horrific flight in up to 70 mile-per-hour wind speeds. Passengers on Southwest Airlines Flight 3461 from Fort Lauderdale to New Orleans reported people on the flight were crying, screaming, vomiting, and writing their goodbyes to loved ones on the ground, saying they thought they were doomed to crash.