Southwest Airlines B737-700 suffers mid-air engine explosion killing one passenger

An engine of Southwest flight 1380 B737-700 bound from New York to Dallas flying at 30000 feet apparently blew in midair that got hit by shrapnel which smashed a window and damaged the fuselage. The passengers struggled to pull a woman back into the plane after she was sucked into a hole left by a shattered window, witnesses said.

The left engine of Flight 1380 burst around 11:30 a.m. as the plane was near Philadelphia. The aircraft made emergency landing in Philadelphia.


Deceased has been identified as Jennifer Riordan who was the victim who was nearly sucked out of the aircraft after the explosion in midair. Seven others were injured among 149 on board.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board got a preliminary look at the engine that failed and reported that there was evidence of metal fatigue as one of 24 fan blades was missing.

The jet’s CFM56-7B engines were made by CFM International, jointly owned by General Electric and Safran Aircraft Engines of France and as a precaution, Southwest said Tuesday night that it would inspect similar engines in its fleet over the next 30 days.

Passengers have praised the pilot Tammie Jo Shults, 56, who bravely flew the doomed plane to safety. She was also one of the first women pilots in the Navy and one of the first women to fly the F/A 18 fighter jet.

Tens of thousands of feet above the earth, the passengers clasped hands with strangers, prayed together and got ready to die.

Moments earlier on Tuesday morning, they had been playing Sudoku, catching up on their reading for church and curling up together to watch funny movies as their Southwest Airlines flight climbed above 30,000 feet on its way from New York to Dallas. It was around 11 a.m., 20 minutes into a four-hour flight, as they skimmed above the clouds and waited for flight attendants to hand out drinks.

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