NTSB reports one fatality in Southwest Airlines emergency landing at Philadelphia airport

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018
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NTSB reports one fatality in Southwest Airlines emergency landing at Philadelphia airport

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (KTRK) -- NTSB officials confirm that one person has died after a Southwest Airlines plane made an emergency landing at Philadelphia's airport Tuesday with part of the covering from its left engine ripped off and a window damaged.


"We do have information there was one fatality," NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt brief the media on the engine failure that killed one person on board Southwest Airlines flight

Multiple passengers told ABC News that the female passenger killed was nearly sucked out of the plane.

The passenger killed has been identified as a mother of two who was also a Wells Fargo bank executive from New Mexico

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly released a Youtube video expressing his condolences to the family.

"It is with great sadness that I confirm there was a passenger fatality on flight 1380 today. This is a sad day and on behalf of the entire Southwest family, I want to extend my deepest sympathies for the family and the loved ones of our deceased customer. They are our immediate and primary concern and we will do all that we can to support them during this difficult time and the difficult days ahead. I'm immensely grateful there are no other reports of injuries but truly this is a tragic loss," he said in the video.

In addition to the fatality, another 12 people were assessed by medics, officials said, and seven of those people were treated for minor injuries.


Southwest said there were 144 passengers and five crew members on board 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 Federal Aviation Administration 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.

In a press conference Tuesday, Kelly said the plane was delivered in July 2000 and the last date of inspection was April 15, 2018, just two days prior to the incident.


Passenger Marty 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!!"

Kristopher Johnson on board the flight and captured this photo of the engine upon landing at Philadelphia International Airport.

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 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.