One passenger aboard a Southwest plane has died after a midair engine explosion forced the aircraft to make an emergency landing at the Philadelphia International Airport this morning, officials said.
While the flight was on its route from New York City's LaGuardia International Airport to Dallas Love Field in Texas, one of the engines failed.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt confirmed at a news briefing Tuesday that there was one fatality in the incident.
Passenger Matt Tranchin said he saw a "huge explosion and glass shattering three rows ahead of me."
"Flight attendants rushed up. There was momentary chaos. Everyone kind of descended on where this hole was. As passengers, we weren't sure if they were trying to cover up the hole, but the plane smelled like smoke. There was ash coming through the ventilation system. We started dropping," Tranchin told ABC affiliate station WPVI in Philadelphia. "Some of the crew couldn't hold back their horror. And some were crying as they looked out through the open window onto the engine."
After the window blew out, a female passenger was nearly sucked out into the air and had to be pulled back by fellow travelers.
"There was a panic once the window broke and she was out of the window," Connor Martin told NBC New York. "Everybody kind of rushed in to pull her back in the plane."
Tranchin said the woman was in “critical condition.”
"Ash was all around us. The passenger who was sitting right next to the window that exploded was in critical condition, covered in blood,” Tranchin told NBC.
According to Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, there was a report of a small engine fire with a fuel leak.
Seven people had minor injuries, but they were not taken to hospitals, said Thiel.
(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)