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PHILADELPHIA — A Southwest Airlines jet made an emergency landing at Philadelphia’s airport Tuesday with part of the covering from its left engine ripped off and a window damaged. The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said one person had died after an engine failure on the plane.
Passenger Marty Martinez told CBSN from the plane that a woman was injured and was taken off the plane. It was unclear if the woman was the person who NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said had died.
“There was blood everywhere,” Martinez told CBSN’s Anne-Marie Green.
Later, Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Adam Thiel said that one person was taken to the hospital in critical condition but declined to release any additional details. He said that seven other passengers were treated for minor injuries, but none had to be taken to the hospital.
Southwest said there were 143 passengers and five crew members onboard the Boeing 737, which was headed from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas’ Love Field. Passengers were seen walking off the plane onto the tarmac at the airport after landing around 11:20 a.m.
The Philadelphia airport tweeted that Flight 1380 “landed safely at PHL and passengers are being brought into the terminal.” The airport said flights were continuing to depart from Philadelphia and that the Federal Aviation Administration had lifted a ground stop for planes at other airports waiting to depart for Philadelphia.
The FAA said that the plane landed after the crew reported damage to one of the plane’s engines, along with the fuselage and at least one window.
Martinez did a brief Facebook Live posting while wearing an oxygen mask. He posted, “Something is wrong with our plane! It appears we are going down! Emergency landing!! Southwest flight from NYC to Dallas!!”
Martinez told CBSN that he thought he was recording his “last moments.”
After the plane landed, he posted photos of a damaged window near the engine.
News helicopter footage showed damage to the left engine and the tarmac covered with firefighting foam, although there were no signs of flames or smoke.
Tracking data from FlightAware.com shows the flight was heading west over New York’s southern tier when it abruptly turned toward Philadelphia.
Southwest has about 700 planes, all of them 737s, including more than 500 737-700s like the one involved in Tuesday’s emergency landing.
It is the world’s largest operator of the 737. The Boeing 737 is the best-selling jetliner in the world and has a good safety record.
Investigators are likely to take apart the failed engine from Tuesday’s plane and examine maintenance records as they try to piece together the cause of the explosion.
The flight was powered by CFM engines. An official told CBS News that CFM has sent representatives to the scene to support the investigation.
The engine failure was reminiscent of a similar event on a Southwest Boeing 737-700 jet in August 2016 as it flew from New Orleans to Orlando, Florida.
Shrapnel from the engine left a 5-by-16-inch hole just above the wing. Passenger oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. Pilots landed the plane safely in Pensacola, Florida.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said one of the engine’s fan blades broke off from the hub during the flight. The broken edge of the blade showed crack lines consistent with metal fatigue.
The NTSB was sending a go-team to the airport in Philadelphia to investigate and planned a 3 p.m. news conference.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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