By Mark Makela
PHILADELPHIA—A Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines Co with 143 passengers and five crew members on board made an emergency landing on Tuesday at Philadelphia International Airport after suffering engine failure, according to the airline and U.S. officials.
The Federal Aviation administration said 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.
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.
One passenger was injured, local media reports said.
Todd Baur, who identified himself as the father of a passenger from the plane, told Philadelphia’s NBC-10 television that a female passenger was injured when she was partially sucked into a window near the afflicted engine before being pulled back into the aircraft by other passengers.
The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a go-team to Philadelphia to investigate the incident. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt has scheduled a briefing for 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) at Reagan National Airport in Washington.
Southwest said the aircraft was bound for Dallas Love Field in Texas from New York’s LaGuardia airport before it diverted to Philadelphia. It did not immediately provide an explanation for the diversion.
“We are in the process of transporting customers and crew into the terminal,” Southwest said in a statement.
A passenger on the flight described feeling the aircraft drop.
“All of a sudden, we heard this loud bang, rattling, it felt like one of the engines went out. The oxygen masks dropped,” the passenger, Kristopher Johnson told CNN. “It just shredded the left-side engine completely … it was scary.”
Major safety issues aboard U.S. airlines are rare, with no accidental deaths recorded last year, according to groups that track crashes.
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.
Marty Martinez, who said he was a passenger on the plane, posted images on his Facebook of passengers wearing oxygen masks and later, of a safety official onboard the aircraft.
“It looks like an engine blew out then a window was blown open,” he wrote.
(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris, David Shepardson in Washington and Alana Wise in New York; Writing by Peter Szekely; Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum and Dan Grebler)
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