Passengers have described the terror they endured when part of a plane’s engine was ripped off thousands of feet in the air.
Southwest Airlines Flight 3472 from New Orleans to Orlando was forced to make an emergency landing after the heart-stopping high-altitude malfunction this morning.
An Oklahoma mum, who was travelling with her husband and their three children – who are 5 and 7, and a baby – described the moment she she heard a boom outside the plane.
“It was just a big explosion. There was some smoke and then nothing,” she told KOCO 5.
“I saw parts flapping in the wind because it was right outside my window.”
“I held my kids, and one was freaking out, crying. And so, we’re trying to hold his hand and singing and praying a lot,” she said.
“I had my faith in God, so I knew that whatever was going to happen, He was with us,” the mother said. “So I was able to stay calm. It wasn’t until after I got on the ground that I got emotional.”
The pilots managed to stabilise the plane and then told passengers that one of the engines was lost, she added. The plane then made an emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida.
The mum praised the crew’s handling of the situation.
A spokesman for Southwest Airlines said: “Today, the Captain of Flight #3472 from New Orleans to Orlando made the decision to divert to Pensacola due to a mechanical issue with the number one engine.
“The flight landed safely without incident at Pensacola International Airport at 9:40am central time.
“Initial reports indicate there were no injuries among the 99 passengers and five crew members on board.
“We have notified the NTSB, and when authorised, we will be inspecting the aircraft to assess the damage. The aircraft is out of service, and we will work to accommodate the passengers to Orlando or their final destination as soon as possible.”