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One dead after Southwest Airlines jet engine ‘explosion’

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Media captionVideo shows exploded plane engine

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.

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Passenger images shows a broken window and oxygen masks deployed

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.

“It just shredded the left-side engine completely… it was scary,” Kristopher Johnson told CNN.

Photos have been shared on social media showing passengers sitting in oxygen masks as the plane shudders around them.

Timothy Bourman, a pastor from New York City, told he had been sitting in the rear of the plane when he heard a loud boom.

“All the sudden, it felt like we dropped 100 feet,” he said.

“We were kind of out of control for a while. It seemed like the pilot was having a hard time controlling the plane. Honestly I think we just all thought we were going down.”

When flight attendants told passengers to brace for impact, Mr Bourman said he and his wife worried for the worst.

“We’re just all really thankful to be alive right now,” he said. “Thankful to God, thankful to that pilot.”

Passenger Marty Martinez posted a brief Facebook live with the caption: “Something is wrong with our plane! It appears we are going down! Emergency landing!! Southwest flight from NYC to Dallas!!”

After landing, he told CBS News that it felt like the plane was “free-falling”, and added that he saw one injured woman being taken off the plane by rescuers.

“There was blood everywhere,” he said.

“First there was an explosion and then almost immediately the oxygen masks came down and probably within a matter of 10 seconds the engine hit a window and busted it wide open.”

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