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One dead after engine failure forces Southwest emergency landing in Philadelphia

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A Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines Co flight with 149 people on board suffered engine failure on Tuesday, forcing an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport and killing a passenger, the airline and federal officials said.

The death on the flight from New York appeared to be the first passenger fatality in a U.S. commercial aviation accident since 2009, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

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After an engine on the plane’s left side blew, it threw off shrapnel, shattering a window and causing cabin depressurization that nearly pulled out a female passenger, witnesses told local television station NBC-10.

“A woman was partially, was drawn out of the plane and pulled back in by other passengers; she was the one that was injured,” Todd Bauer, whose daughter was on the flight, told the station.

 NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told a news briefing that one person had been killed, but declined to elaborate. The fatality was a passenger, according to Southwest Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm that there is one fatality resulting from this accident. The entire Southwest Airlines Family is devastated and extends its deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the customers, employees, family members and loved ones affected by this tragic event,” Southwest said in a statement.

The death on the flight from New York appeared to be the first passenger fatality in a U.S. commercial aviation accident since 2009, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

After an engine on the plane’s left side blew, it threw off shrapnel, shattering a window and causing cabin depressurization that nearly pulled out a female passenger, witnesses told local television station NBC-10.

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“A woman was partially, was drawn out of the plane and pulled back in by other passengers; she was the one that was injured,” Todd Bauer, whose daughter was on the flight, told the station.

 NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told a news briefing that one person had been killed, but declined to elaborate. The fatality was a passenger, according to Southwest Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm that there is one fatality resulting from this accident. The entire Southwest Airlines Family is devastated and extends its deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the customers, employees, family members and loved ones affected by this tragic event,” Southwest said in a statement.

Earlier, Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Adam Thiel told reporters that one passenger had been taken to the hospital in critical condition. It was not immediately clear if that person was the same passenger who was later confirmed dead.

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Flight 1380 was diverted to Philadelphia after crew members reported damage to one of the aircraft’s engines, its fuselage and at least one window, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

“Everybody was going crazy, and yelling and screaming,” passenger Marty Martinez told CNN.

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Martinez said objects flew out of the hole where the window had exploded, and “passengers right next to her were holding onto (the woman being pulled out). And meanwhile, there was blood all over this man’s hands. He was tending to her.”

Television images showed that most of the outer casing around the left engine of the Boeing Co 737-700 had ripped away and a window near the engine on the plane’s left side was missing.

Southwest said the aircraft had been bound for Dallas Love Field in Texas from New York’s LaGuardia Airport before it diverted to Philadelphia.

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“All of a sudden, we heard this loud bang, rattling, it felt like one of the engines went out. The oxygen masks dropped,” a passenger, Kristopher Johnson, told CNN. “It just shredded the left-side engine completely. … It was scary.”

Southwest shares fell more than 3 percent after the NTSB reported the fatality, then cut losses to close down 1.1 percent at $54.27 a share on the New York Stock Exchange.

The aircraft’s maker, Boeing, said on Twitter that it was aware of the incident and was “gathering more information.”

The plane’s engines are made by CFM International, a French-U.S. venture co-owned by Safran and General Electric, which was not immediately available for comment.

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Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris, David Shepardson in Washington, Alana Wise and Peter Szekeley in New York; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum, Dan Grebler and Jonathan Oatis


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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