Breaking: Southwest Makes Emergency Landing After Passenger Hit By Shrapnel From Blown Engine

Southwest Airlines flight 1380 from New York LaGuardia to Dallas Love Field made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after blowing an engine.

The Boeing 737-700 with 143 passengers and five crew onboard landed safely. But the engine is a mess. And reportedly “Shrapnel hit the window causing a serious injury.” One passenger said “there was bloody everywhere.”

An individual, presumably the one ‘hit by shrapnel’ was taken to the hospital and “a large amount of fluid, possibly jet fuel, was seen under and trailing behind the left side of the plane.”

Here’s the aircraft on the ground surrounded by emergency vehicles:

The Philadelphia airport is operating, but expect delays.

Early reports on incidents are notoriously incomplete, so this story is definitely “developing.”

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  1. Wow! This is not a garden variety failure.. The entire assembly in front of the compressor is gone and the cowling is exploded in a way I’ve never seen before. Presumably the fluid was fuel, the track showed them dropping from about FL 32 about 19000 feet in 5 minutes, and on the ground in 15, so they undoubtedly landed a little heavy.

    In the past, engine failures have been catastrophic mainly because they can damage other mission critical systems, even piercing the layers of redundancy (see UA 232 at Sioux City, AA 191, etc.) If the fuselage was pierced with shrapnel, then this is a big, big deal.

    Very glad it made a safe landing. Fearing for the passenger struck by the shrapnel.

  2. When you search the Southwest Airlines web site for flight status on 1380, you get the error message of “no flights found for your search.”

  3. Awful news, one fatality. I think we will find it is the person sitting at that window.

    The truth is, more than once I have looked down at those engines and wondered where the stuff would hit a fuselage at cruise speed, if an engine gave up. 15A was the terrible answer today.

  4. First passenger fatality for a scheduled US carrier since United Express/Colgan Air in 2009?

  5. Jennifer Riordan was an Albuquerque resident and well loved – even the Mayor spoke about it. Southwest has some old metal and despite their amazing record, they need to update their fleet.
    It’s been all over the news here. Must add Kelly did a great job at the press conference.

  6. I want to amend something I wrote above. I’ve seen additional pictures, and in fact the fan assembly in front of the compressor is still intact, albeit missing pieces. So the destruction is not as severe as I opined above. Nevertheless, this should not happen, and I think it will come down to 1) a manufacturing defect in a particular production run of engine or fan blade; 2) the maintenance schedule or practices regarding this particular engine, or 3) the poor execution of #2.

  7. @Ken A,
    All the airlines have blackout procedures in place for any flight deemed “in trouble” which is why you aren’t finding any results in your flight status search.

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