DALLAS – Air traffic control audio obtained by WFAA reveals how the pilot of a Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines flight and the control tower navigated a catastrophic engine failure and the ensuing emergency landing at the Philadelphia airport.
The recording details a sense of calm among the chaos as Southwest Flight 1380 descended roughly 20,000 feet in eight minutes.
“We have part of the aircraft missing, so we’re gonna need to slow down a bit,” the pilot says.
Part of the engine covering was ripped away mid-flight and crashed into the side of the plane, breaking a window. The flight marked the first passenger fatality due to an aircraft incident in Southwest's 51-year history.
“They said there’s a hole and someone went out,” she says. The National Transportation Safety Board did not detail that claim in an afternoon press conference. It wasn’t immediately clear how one passenger died.
On the other end, air traffic controllers can be heard adjusting the arrivals of flights from other airlines.
“Southwest 1458, you can expect an extended downwind,” the controller tells another pilot. “We have another company airplane coming in that has an emergency that’s pretty serious, so we’re gonna dump him in front of you.”
Pilots with American, Frontier and other airlines are told to slow their approach as Flight 1380 made its emergency approach to Philadelphia.
The pilot of Flight 1380 asked for medical assistance on the runway for injured passengers. The NTSB said one passenger was critically injured and seven others had minor injuries.
Passengers walked off the plane just after noon Philadelphia time.
In a YouTube video released hours after the flight landed, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the loved ones of the deceased passenger were the airline’s “immediate and primary concern.” He called it a “tragic loss” and said Southwest is offering the NTSB all necessary help with an investigation.