A woman was “partially sucked out” an airplane window after an engine exploded in midair Tuesday, leading desperate passengers aboard the Southwest Airlines flight to try pulling her to safety amid a chaotic scene with “blood everywhere,” frightened witnesses said.
At least one passenger was taken to the hospital and several people were reported injured after the plane made the emergency landing in Philadelphia, officials said.
WACU reported a passenger was “partially sucked out” of one of the plane’s windows when the engine exploded and shrapnel from the engine pierced through a window, a father of one of the passengers said.
“One passenger, a woman, was partially…was drawn out towards the outside of the plane…was pulled back in by other passengers,” Todd Bauer, the father of one of the passengers said.
Sources told FOX 29 that one passenger was in critical condition with head trauma and nine others were injured in the incident. It was not immediately clear if any of the nine injured were hospitalized.
A Southwest Airlines spokesperson said the Boeing 737-700 diverted “because of an operational event” but photos appeared to show engine damage.
Flight 1380 was en route from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Dallas Love Field when it was diverted to Philadelphia International Airport. The plane was carrying 143 passengers and five crewmembers.
The Philadelphia Fire Department was on the scene helping evacuate passengers.
Marty Martinez, a passenger on the flight, posted a video on his personal Facebook page stating he was “recording his last moments.” Martinez told CBS News there was “blood everywhere” on the aircraft.
“We were probably going down for 10 to 15 minutes,” Martinez said. “And of course everyone is freaking out, everyone is crying. It was the scariest experience.”
Southwest said in a statement it was “aware” of the incident.
“We are in the process of gathering more information,” the statement said. “…Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our customers and crews at this time.”
The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement saying it was “investigating the incident and the National Transportation Board has been notified.”
“Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 landed at Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the crew reported damage to one of the aircraft’s engines, as well as fuselage and at least one window,” the statement read.
The Philadelphia International Airport tweeted passengers “should expect delays” following the incident.
“Flight from LGA [LaGuardia] to Dallas Love Field landed safely at PHL [Philadelphia] and passengers are being brought into the terminal. Flights are departing and arriving but passengers should expect delays. Check flight status with your airline,” the airport tweeted.
Boeing Airplanes tweeted the company was aware of the incident and was “gathering more information” “to provide [with] technical assistance.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.