Travel News April 18, 2018
A Southwest Plane Engine Just Exploded Mid-Air – Here’s What Happened
This week, a Southwest Airlines flight traveling from New York to Dallas was forced to make an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport after it experienced engine failure. Unfortunately, one of the passengers onboard died. Southwest Airlines Flight 1380’s death was the first accidental fatality to happen on a domestic flight in nine years.
Departing from LaGuardia Airport in New York at 10:27 AM on Tuesday April 17th, the three-hour long flight came to a halt when the plane made an emergency landing at Philadelphia Airport at 11:23 AM. The plane was carrying 144 passengers and 5 crew members. According to those on board the first 20 minutes of the flight was smooth sailing. Unfortunately, when the plane was 30,000 feet in the air it experienced engine failure after a fan blade broke off.
According to passengers on board, when the fan blade broke off and engine failure began, it sounded like a large explosion on the left side of the plane. Glass began shattering and the smell of smoke poured into the Boeing 737, oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling while the Southwest crew members did their best to keep passengers calm.
The Boeing 737 is estimated to have dropped from over 31,000 feet to 10,000 feet in roughly five minutes time. When the engine failure began, a hole was made in the side of the plane and a window was broken. Tragically, as a result, the woman sitting in the window seat was partially sucked out of the broken window. After several minutes, a group of heroic passengers were able to pull the woman back inside of the plane by her legs. While CPR was performed on the passenger until the plane landed, it is believed that when she was pulled out of the plane her head hit a window and she died on impact. It was announced that the deceased passenger was New Mexico resident, 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan.
The death on Tuesday was not only the first accidental fatality to occur on a domestic in nine years, but also the first in-flight death to happen in Southwest Airlines history. The last domestic airline fatality happened back in 2009 after a plane crashed near Buffalo, New York, resulting in the death of 49 people onboard the plane and one person on the ground.
The plane reportedly was last inspected on Sunday, April 15th, and while the National Transportation Saftey Board is still investigating the matter it is believed that "metal fatigue" may have played a role in the Boeing 737's engine failure. It should also be noted that Southwest Airlines Pilot Tammy Jo Shults is being praised for her quick thinking and calm demeanor that resulted in a safe landing at Philadelphia International Airport. Shults is noted as being one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. military.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jennifer Riordan’s family and friends, as well as everyone onboard Southwest Airline Flight 1380.
To follow the NTSB’s investigation, view their official Twitter account here.