PHILADELPHIA – One person died on a Southwest Airlines flight leaving New York’s LaGuardia and heading for Dallas when the plane blew an engine and had to make an emergency landing on Tuesday.
“This is a very 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 the deceased customer and of course they are our immediate and primary concern,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO.
“I am immensely grateful that there are no other reports of serious injuries but this is a tragic loss,” Kelly said.
Passengers worked together to minimize injuries and death toll. One woman said the flight attendants made sure everybody had oxygen.
“Stewardesses were right there taking care of her and everything else,”said Kathy Farnan. “We had quite a number of children on board, and the pilot was a veteran of the Navy who had 32 years in, she was very good.”
The NTSB sent a team of investigators to Philadelphia. Sumwalt said the engine will be taken apart and examined to understand what caused the failure.
“It’s our understanding that the recorders have been secured and they should be flying back on the same airplane that we’re going up on,” said Richard Sumwalt, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
“They should be back in Washington tonight. We expect a preliminary readout of those recorders in the NTSB’s lab in Washington this evening,” Sumwalt said.
The last time a passenger died in an accident on a U.S. airliner was 2009, when 49 people on board and one on the ground were killed when a Continental Express plane crashed on a house near Buffalo, New York, according to the Associated Press.