Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Turmoil

Passengers applauded Flight 3472's crew for keeping calm under extreme pressure.

A midair scare forced a Southwest Airlines flight carrying 104 people to make an emergency landing Saturday after experiencing some major engine trouble.

Passengers flying to Orlando, Florida, from New Orleans were screaming and praying after hearing what sounded like an explosion around 9:30 a.m., KOCO-TV reported.

Photos taken out of passenger windows show the damage to Flight 3472’s left engine.

“I thought it was an attack and that the plane was going to go down,” passenger Julie Stephens told WESH-TV.

“There was some smoke and then nothing,” Tami Richards, who was heading to Disney World with her husband and three young children, told KOCO-TV. “I saw parts flapping in the wind because it was right outside my window.”

Passengers fitted themselves with air masks as the pilots worked to stabilize the two-engine plane. They then were informed that they’d be making an emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida.

The flight landed without further incident and there were no injuries reported among the 99 passengers and five crew members on board, Southwest said in a statement.

The passengers praised the flight’s crew for keeping cool under such pressure.

“I mean, we couldn’t have had a better crew, and it was thanks to that pilot that we’re all alive,” Richards said.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association later shared a photo of the torn-up engine on their Twitter account.

“The best safety device is always a well-trained pilot,” their post read.

Zachary Martin, who said his father was aboard the flight, agreed.

“Thank you for saving my father’s life today,” he tweeted back to the pilots’ union.

The National Transportation Security Board is now investigating the incident.