A Southwest Airlines plane made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport around 11:20 am after an engine exploded and broke a window near the wing area of the plane. A passenger was partially sucked out of the plane but other passengers rushed to save her and pulled her back into the moving plane. The plane depressurized and was forced to land. The flight was headed to Dallas, Texas and left from LaGuardia Airport in New York.
The frightening incident caused multiple minor injuries and one passenger lost their life. It is not known if it's the woman who was nearly sucked out of the plane as it was moving 500 miles per hour and descended thousands of harrowing feet per minute before landing. 144 passengers were on board along with five crew members.
NBC Philadelphia reported more details on the frightful flight:
Passengers described hearing a loud explosion from the left engine — one of two onboard — before debris peppered the fuselage and broke that window.
"The plane dropped immediately," said Matt Tranchin, who was sitting three rows behind the broken window. "Plane smelled like smoke. Ash was all around us."
Another passenger, Eric Zilbert, said "several heroic gentlemen" pulled the woman back into the plane and immediately performed CPR. Tranchin said she was covered in blood.
The pilot, speaking to air traffic control via the radio, asked for paramedics to meet the airplane to help injured passengers.
"We have a part of the aircraft missing," the pilot, who has not yet been identified, said.
Asked whether the plane was on fire, she responded: "No, it's not on fire but part of it’s missing. They said there is a hole and someone went out."
Once the plane touched down in firefighters doused the plane with fire-retardant foam to smother a small fire and engine leak coming from the engine, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said.
Robert Sumwalt with the National Transportation Safety Board said one passenger died as a result of the incident. Officials did not identify the passenger by name and it was not immediately clear whether the death was that of the woman witnesses described above.
This had to be an excruciatingly frightening moment for every passenger who experienced the exploding engine, broken window, depressurization, and woman nearly being sucked out like she's in a horror movie.