The first fatality resulting from a commercial airline failure in nine years occurred today when one of the engines on a Southwest Airlines jet exploded en route from New York City’s LaGuardia International Airport to Dallas Love Field. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed the fatality during a press briefing in the last hour, but did not reveal the identity of the victim or the exact cause of death.
A piece of the exploding engine ripped into the fuselage of the plane and shattered a window. The woman sitting nearest the window was reportedly partly sucked out, but was then pulled back in by other passengers. The plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after quickly losing altitude after the explosion.
Social media video and images best convey the terror on Flight 1380 today:
SCARY MOMENTS: A video taken by a passenger from inside @SouthwestAir #Flight1380 making an emergency landing in Philadelphia Int’l Airport after leaving LaGuardia, New York that was en route to Dallas. (???? by Marty Martinez) pic.twitter.com/mPZ8pZrz6I
— MJ (@EMJAEEE_) April 17, 2018
.@SouthwestAir 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!!" https://t.co/i0rDE6iVpv pic.twitter.com/DsMAEBLI7g
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) April 17, 2018
“The safety of our customers and our crew is always our uncompromising priority,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement today. “I do want to thank and commend our flight crew for their swift action and for safely landing this aircraft. I also want to thank all involved in Philadelphia for their quick professional and compassionate response.”
The flight had 144 passengers on board and five crew members.