1 dead after damaged Southwest flight from LaGuardia makes emergency landing in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA — At least one person has died after a Southwest Airlines jet from LaGuardia made an emergency landing at Philadelphia’s airport Tuesday with part of the covering from its left engine ripped off and a damaged window, authorities said.

The plane landed at Philadelphia International Airport at 11:20 a.m. after the crew reported damage to one of the aircraft’s engines, fuselage and at least one window, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in statement.

Passengers used air stairs to evacuate the 737 aircraft onto the tarmac in Philadelphia. Southwest Airlines said there were 143 passengers and five crewmembers on board.

Philadelphia fire chief said that one person was taken to the hospital in critical condition and seven other passengers were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

There has been "one fatality," said Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

A passenger told CNN they were west of Philadelphia when something went wrong.

"We left LaGuardia heading to Dallas and we were west of Philly when we lost the left-side engine and diverted to Philly. Shrapnel hit the window causing a serious injury. No other details about that. Several medical personnel on the flight tended to the injured passenger," the passenger said.

News helicopter footage showed damage to the left engine of the plane and the tarmac covered on foam from fire crews. Firefighters were on the scene but a spokeswoman couldn't provide any details.

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!!"

The Philadelphia airport tweeted that Southwest Flight 1380 "landed safely at PHL and passengers are being brought into the terminal."

Airport officials said the FAA issued a temporary ground stop for all planes headed to Philadelphia's airport, but it has since been lifted. Passengers flying Tuesday should check with their airline before arriving.

Southwest Airlines has released the following statement about the incident:

"We are aware that Southwest flight #1380 from New York La Guardia (LGA) to Dallas Love Field (DAL) has diverted to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). We are in the process of transporting Customers and Crew into the terminal. The aircraft, a Boeing 737-700, has 143 Customers and five Crewmembers onboard. We are in the process of gathering more information. Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we are working diligently to support our Customers and Crews at this time."

Tracking data from FlightAware.com shows the flight was heading west over New York's southern tier when it abruptly turned toward Philadelphia.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating.

Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly said, “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.”

Former Navy pilot and aviation attorney Dan Rose says investigators will likely focus on what prevented the engine casing from containing the explosion.

“If this ever did happen, that a fan blade got thrown out, or the engine blew up for any other reason, it should contained inside the engine that we all see when we look out the window,” Rose said.

The Associated Press, CNN and PIX11 contributed to this report.

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