A Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas had major trouble inflight today and had to make an emergency landing in Philly. A window was blown out when an engine apparently exploded, and a woman was “partially” sucked out the window and had to be pulled back into the cabin, according to a Philly TV station.
Two people who are friends of D Magazine were aboard the flight. Marty Martinez, who has done social media consulting for the magazine, was sitting three rows behind the window that was blown out. He posted some video to Facebook that is now appearing pretty much everywhere. You can see that video and some pictures here.
Also aboard the Southwest flight was Matt Tranchin, the executive director of the Coalition for a New Dallas, a super PAC co-founded by D Magazine owner Wick Allison. Matt sent the above picture of the window and the engine. He texts:
Engine exploded (we think) and shattered one of the windows, killing a passenger [ed: other reports say the passenger was rushed to a hospital]. Flight attendants ran over calling for passengers to help cover the hole as they broke down and began uncontrollably crying and looking horrified as they looked outside. Plane dropped dramatically and it smelled like fire with ash coming down on everyone thru the vents. Absolutely terrifying, but we are okay.
I’ll update this post as I get more details.
UPDATE (12:56) I’ve spoken with a very shaken Matt Tranchin, who is eating snacks in Philly and filling out forms. He jokes that after this ordeal, he’s looking forward to his two free drink coupons from Southwest. A few more details about the incident from Matt:
No, he says, the woman was not partially sucked out the window. She was in 14A; he was in row 17. He watched as they performed CPR on her, with the woman lying on the row 17 seats. Matt said they stopped when they couldn’t revive her. There was blood everywhere. He’s certain she didn’t make it.
Matt says they were about 30 minutes into the flight when things went haywire. He was just pulling out his laptop and signing onto wifi. That’s when they heard an explosion, and the window simultaneously shattered. He says it looked like flight attendants were trying to block the window, using whatever they could.
Matt just saw World War Z, the Brad Pitt zombie flick. There’s a scene in the movie where the zombies start to take over a plane inflight and Pitt defeats them by blowing a hole in the fuselage with a grenade. That’s the first thing Matt thought of. His instinct was to get away from the window so he wasn’t sucked off the plane. He looked behind him, but the flight was packed. Nowhere to go. “I thought that movie would help with defeating the zombies,” Matt says. “Little did I know it was a flight safety video.”
Matt says that as the cabin filled with ash, he was certain he was about to die. He texted his parents and his wife, who is in her third trimester with their first child. He says, “I was basically telling them I love them and texting my parting words to my unborn son.”
Now it looks like Matt will have to get onboard another flight. Many of the passengers are electing to rent cars, but he says his wife is pretty freaked out, so he can’t take the time to drive to Dallas. “I feel like I was just on a massive water slide and got thrown off,” he says. “And now people are like, ‘Let’s do that again!’’’
I offered him one piece of advice: before he boards that next flight, get really drunk.