One passenger died and seven were hurt Tuesday when an engine aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas failed, forcing the jet to make an emergency landing.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board have not said the cause of the female passenger’s death.
But witnesses said engine parts hit a window, and the woman was almost sucked out of the jet before pilots made the emergency landing in Philadelphia.
The dead passenger was identified as Jennifer Riordan of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Wells Fargo bank executive was the mother of two and the first passenger to die in a U.S. commercial jet accident since 2009.
“All of a sudden, we heard this loud bang, rattling. It felt like one of the engines went out,” one passenger told CNN. “The oxygen masks dropped. It just shredded the left-side engine completely. It was scary.”
Investigators said Flight 1380, a Boeing 737, reported an engine fire shortly after takeoff. Pilots asked for an emergency landing.
Investigators have the airliner’s flight data recorders and will likely have to take the damaged engine apart to examine it.
NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said it turned out there was no engine fire and said investigators are focusing on a missing fan blade. He said the preliminary exam of the engine shows evidence of metal fatigue where the blade separated.
The plane was equipped with a CFM 56-7B engine. CFM International and the Federal Aviation Administration recommended airlines inspect fan blades on such engines after a report of a fan blade breaking off on a flight last year.
It is unclear if the failed engine on Flight 1380 was covered by the FAA’s airworthiness directive.
Former NTSB member John Goglia told The Associated Press that Boeing 737 engines have a ring around them to contain flying parts if the engine failed.
He said in this case, the ring did not do its job.