NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — One person is dead after a Southwest Airlines plane from New York to Dallas made an emergency landing at Philadelphia’s airport with a damaged engine and window on Tuesday, officials said.
National Transportation Safety Board Chair Robert Sumwalt said that his agency had heard there was one fatality as well as injuries.
“We do know that there have been injuries, and we would like to offer our condolences to all those affected by this event,” said NTSB Chair Robert Sumwalt.
Earlier, Philadelphia fire officials said they had rushed one person to the hospital in critical condition after the plane landed.
“We transported one patient in critical condition to a local hospital,” said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. “We also assessed 12 other patients, and treated seven patients for minor injuries, although none of those were transported to the hospital.”
Southwest Flight 1380 from LaGuardia to Dallas Love Field was diverted to Philadelphia International Airport. It was heading west over southern New York when it abruptly made the turn, according to tracking data from FlightAware.com.
It landed safely at around 11:27 a.m. after declaring an alert at around 11:15 a.m., according to officials.
“All of a sudden, we hear an explosion and come to find out that the engine exploded on the left side of the plane,” claims Marty Martinez, the Southwest passenger that live-streamed flight making an emergency landing https://t.co/lVelLDaE97 pic.twitter.com/8lJAuc0Qdr
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 17, 2018
The FAA said the plane landed after “the crew reported damage to one of the aircraft’s engines, as well as the fuselage and at least one window.”
Passengers walked off the plane on the tarmac at the airport.
Footage from the scene showed damage to the left engine of the plane and the tarmac covered in foam from fire crews.
The NTSB said it was sending a “Go Team” to respond to the incident.
“I have to say as well, the flight crew did an incredible job getting this aircraft here on the ground,” Thiel said. “It is our understanding that the passengers on board the aircraft, in addition to the flight crew and the cabin crew, did some pretty amazing things under very difficult circumstances.”
“There is a hole in the side of the aircraft also,” a person can be heard saying in a conversation with air traffic controllers in Philadelphia as the plane approached. The audio was captured by LiveATC.net.
— Joe Marcus (@joeasaprap) April 17, 2018
Passengers on board posted on social media that the plane was en route when something happened.
Passenger Marty Martinez did a brief Facebook Live posting with the caption “Something is wrong with our plane! It appears we are going down! Emergency landing!! Southwest flight from NYC to Dallas!!”
Martinez posted images on Facebook showing a broken window and said that oxygen masks had deployed.
Southwest said that 143 passengers and five crewmembers were on board the plane. Passengers and crew were transported into the terminal.
“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.
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.
Investigators are likely to take apart the failed engine from Tuesday’s plane and examine maintenance records as they try to piece together the cause of the explosion.
The engine failure was reminiscent of a similar event on a Southwest Boeing 737-700 jet in August 2016 as it flew from New Orleans to Orlando, Florida.
Shrapnel from the engine left a 5 by 16 inch hole just above the wing. Passenger oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. Pilots landed the plane safely in Pensacola, Florida.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said one of the engine’s fan blades broke off from the hub during the flight. The broken edge of the blade showed crack lines consistent with metal fatigue.
“We want to look at this particular event, and see what the factors are related to this,” Sumwalt said.