In a tragic incident, a Southwest Airlines aircraft took off from LaGuardia airport in New York at 10:43am heading to Dallas where 20 minutes into the trip a piece from the engine broke off, flew into the side of the plane breaking a window and killing a woman. She was sitting in her seat with her seatbelt on, however due to the aircraft being 32,500 feet above the ground, the hole in the aircraft caused a break in pressure in the cabin, causing the woman to be pushed out of the cabin by that pressure, resulting in her injury and thus her death.
Reports from other witnesses claim that the alarms started to blare in the cockpit and it sounded like explosions going off on the left side of the plane. One passenger, Marty Martinez, described his experience saying he "heard a loud boom and about five seconds later, all the oxygen masks deployed...Everybody was going crazy, and yelling and screaming....as the plane is going down, I am literally purchasing internet just so I can get some kind of communication to the outside world."
Passengers rushed to the woman and were able to pull her back inside the plane and a nurse, Peggy Williams, who was on board volunteered to perform CPR. She later made a statement about the incident saying, "I went back and we started CPR on the lady, which we continued for about 20 minutes. We were still doing CPR when the plane landed...we made every effort that we could possibly make to save this woman's life."
As this incident was taking place back in the cabin, the pilot, Tammie Jo Shults had full control of aircraft even after one of it's two engine's malfunctioned. She made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, contacting the air traffic control there and telling them to have medics ready as soon as they land. Passengers have given Shults praise for the way she handled this crucial situation with such professionalism and urgency. One passenger, Alfred Tumlinson of Texas said: "She has nerves of steel. That lady, I applaud her. I'm going to send her a Christmas card...I'm going to tell you that...with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome. Another passenger said "she's a formidable woman, as sharp as a tack.
There were 149 people on board of the twin-engine Boeing 737. As mentioned, one passenger passed away and 7 people were injured from the incident. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident. They reported that a preliminary look at the engine shows that one of it's 24 fan blades was missing. In addition the cowling for the engine was found about 70 miles from where the plane landed.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly issued a statement on behalf of Southwest stating: "This is a sad day and our hearts go out to the family and the loved ones of the deceased customer. We will do all that we can to support them during this very difficult time.”
More information and details on this unfortunate tragedy can be read, HERE