One dead after Southwest Airlines jet engine ‘explosion’

(BBC) – One person has been killed and seven others received medical treatment after a US passenger jet’s engine ripped off midair, officials say.

Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after a window, wings and fuselage were damaged in the incident, officials say.

The flight was en route from New York’s La Guardia airport to Dallas, Texas, with 143 passengers and five crew.

The last passenger death on a US commercial flight was in 2009.

The Boeing 737-700 in Tuesday morning’s incident made a safe landing at 11:20 (15:20 GMT), said fire officials.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has opened an investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said they were aware of one fatality in the suspected “engine failure”.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters the type of engine, a CFM56, is “very widely used in commercial transport”.

The father of one passenger aboard the plane told NBC Philadelphia that a woman was “partially sucked out” of a window after it was pierced by debris from the engine.

She was pulled back inside by other passengers, Todd Bauer added.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel told a news conference that seven passengers were treated at the scene for minor injuries, but they were not taken to hospital.

The passengers and crew “did some pretty amazing things under very difficult circumstances”, Commissioner Thiel added.

First responders “found a fuel leak and small fire in one of the engines”, he said, adding that they used foam to extinguish the flames.

‘Blood everywhere’

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said they were “aware” the flight had been diverted to Philadelphia.

“We are in the process of gathering more information,” they said, adding: “Safety is always our top priority.”

“We are working diligently to support our customers and crews at this time.”

“All of a sudden, we heard this loud bang, rattling…” said one passenger.

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